Skip to main content

Full text of "The conquerors; historical sketches of the American settlement of the Oregon country, embracing facts in the life and work of Rev. Jason Lee .."

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at jhttp : //books . qooqle . com/ 




U^S -375 3/, 5" 


Page 36 — First line top, read (mountain), not mount in. 

Page 45— Tenth line from top, read (1833), not 1883. 

Page 98 — Sixteenth line from bottom, read (Mr,), not Mrs. 

Page 117— Second line from bottom, read (1872 J, not 1871. 

Page 168 and 69 — The residence of Jason Lee was erected and 
occupied in the winter of 1840 and 41. and finished at 
a later date. 

Page 195— Thirteenth line from top, read (blazoned } t not 

Page 254— Third line from top, read (Oregon), not organ. 

Page 266— Fifteenth line from top, read (parties), not pari tea, 

Page 270 — Ninth line from bottom, read (grandest X not greatest. 

Page 278— Eleventh line from top, read (1791), not 1790. 

Page 302— Eleventh line from bottom, read, (acres), not iq. miles. 

Page 303— Second line from top, read (one billion), not 
ten billions. 

Digitized by 








OCEAN AND ,""•—- 

»OR TO PA^o^^««T»C « TOE 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 



Digitized by 



^istortatl £b*trlps 


American Settlement of the 
Oregon Country 

^jupyttrtttfl 'ttds tit tb& wivf 8ttu IPftflt sA 


The Pioneer and Founder of American Institutions c 
the Western Coast of North America. 


Published with the Indorsement 0/ the Officers •/ 

"The Washington State Historical Society," 

Tacema, Washington 

On Sale at 
Boston Cincinnati Tacoma Portland 

New York Chicago Seattle San Francisco 


Digitized by 


UA 37«r2n.4T 




l4 *+U^A-J^ 


Br A. Atwood 


Digitized by 



In honor of the name and the deeds of Jason Lee 

and the Pioneer Missionaries who laid the 

foundations of American institutions 

in Oregon. To them and to 

their descendants is this 

volume respectfully 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 



Digitized by 


Digitized by 



Associated with the early settlement of Oregon there 
is a blending of romance, of patriotism, of sacrifice, of 
noble deeds, of devotion to God and the welfare of 
humanity, that has not been excelled in the history of 
the world. The story of the traders and the trappers in 
the early part of 1800. The account of the several 
expeditions sent out by the United States Government. 
The Indians, enveloped in the darkness of a pagan 
night, turning their thoughts Godward, and asking for 
light. The coming of the missionaries; the conflicts 
through which they passed ; the trials they endured ; the 
difficulties they encountered ; the work they accom- 
plished; the victories they won, form a record that is 
worthy of being written in letters of gold. It challenges 
the admiration of the world. The story embraces an 
account of facts and scenes that are unique, weird, truth- 
ful, pathetic, and sublime. 

No writer can give in words of proper phrase a 
complete description of the great events that form this 
history. The spirit of love and Christian heroism that 
prompted the noble acts of the missionaries is ideal and 
Christlike; it is indescribable, and can not be trans- 
ferred to canvas, nor can it be uttered in speech or 
expressed with pen. 

No part of the country over which floats the flag of 
the United States has such a unique and thoroughly 
American origin and history as has Oregon. It is the 
only part of the great American Republic that was ob- 


Digitized by 


6 Preface 

tained by discovery, followed by occupancy, actual settle- 
ment, and the formation of a local government under 
the sheltering folds of the American flag hoisted by the 
colonists themselves. 

The story of the American conquest of Oregon is 
told in these pages. The aim of the writer has been 
to tell it as correctly as the information at his command 
would permit He acknowledges his indebtedness to 
Hon. C. B. Bagley, a former journalist of this coast; 
also to Drs. A. B. Leonard and S. O. Benton, officers 
of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, through whose kindly offices he secured from 
the records of that society many facts touching the work 
of the Oregon Mission from 1833 to 1844. 

To Dr. H. K. Hines, "Missionary History of the 
Pacific Northwest ;" to Prof. F. H. Grubbs, son-in-law of 
Rev. Jason Lee, and to Rev. A. J. Joslyn, of the Puget 
Sound Conference. 

To Mr. Francis Richmond, the first American born 
in Oregon, north of the Columbia River, and to Dr. 
Oregon Richmond. 

To Mr. D. T. Merkley, of the Methodist Book Con- 
cern of New York, for valuable excerpts from the Chris- 
tian Advocate and Journal; to Mrs. Clara D. Worth, of 
Boston, for important excerpts from Zion's Herald, and 
to Rev. C. M. Tate, secretary of the British Columbia 
Conference of the Methodist Church of Canada. 

To Hon. R. L. McCormick, president, and Prof. W. 
H. Gilstrap, secretary, of the Washington State His- 
torical Society. 

To Mr. John A. Cousley, editor of the Alton Tele- 
graph, published at Alton, 111., and Miss Harriet Dolbee, 
of tliat city, for information from the files of The Tele- 
Also to Miss Georgie Osborne, assistant librarian of 

Digitized by 


Preface 7 

the Illinois State Historical Library at Springfield, 111., 
for access to the files of the Illinois State Journal and 
the Illinois State Register. 

From these and other sources much valuable informa- 
tion has been obtained, some of which is given to the 
public for the first time in these pages. The writer 
has thus been enabled to give what he believes to be a 
fuller and a more accurate summary of many facts em- 
braced in the early history of Oregon than has hitherto 
been published. 

With these facts about the early settlement of the 
Pacific Northwest, there is also given much important 
information about the present condition of the Oregon 

The different divisions thereof, their industries 
and resources, and other matters of public interest, 
to which is added a brief description of Alaska, em- 
bracing facts about its purchase, area, climate, products, 
and other important items about that great Northland. 

The writer desires to call special attention to the 
facts given in these pages that connect the missions 
and the missionaries with the great national matters 
involved in the settlement of the Oregon question. To 
omit these would be like describing a piece of cloth and 
leaving out all reference to the warp and the woof that 
form the fabric ; or, like telling a story and eliminating 
all the essential features that enter into it; or, like 
Hamlet, with Hamlet left out. The missions and the 
work of the missionaries is the warp and the woof of 
the effort to Americanize Oregon. And the American 
conquest of Oregon can not be truthfully told if the 
actors in this great drama are left out, and the important 
events that made the conquest possible are not included 
in this unique and wonderful story. 

For it should be observed that, up to the time of 

Digitized by 


8 Preface 

the establishment of the Provisional Government, in July, 
1843, the missionaries of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
and those who had come to the coast through their in- 
strumentality, comprised nearly all the American citi- 
zens in the country. Their settlement was not only the 
center of American life and influence in Oregon, but 
it was the only place on the Pacific coast where it was 
possible to outrank the Hudson Bay Company in the 
control of Oregon affairs and in the establishment of a 
government under American auspices. 

About no settlement in the United States has there 
been so many absurd statements made and erroneous 
opinions formed as to the causes and the factors that 
contributed to its formation, its upbuilding, and the 
triumph of American sentiment in connection with it, as 
have been made about the American settlement of the 
Oregon country. 

The evidence of the untenability and falsity of many 
of the claims and statements referred to is incontro- 

The object of the writer is to bring to public at- 
tention the facts in the case and thus conserve the truth. 

This compilation of historical data is not the re- 
sult of hasty impulse, nor is it prompted by sectarian 
motive or purpose. The writer desires to do an act of 
justice to the name, the deeds, and the memory of the 
great and good man who established this American com- 
munity in Oregon and made provision for its support, 
and its growth, and thus laid the foundations of empire 
on the Pacific coast. 

The question, Who planned and executed the work 
that made Oregon an American commonwealth, and thus 
"saved Oregon?" is answered in the great mass of his- 
torical facts given in this book. 

The Author. 

Digitized by 





Events that led up to the American occupancy of Oregon 
— The going out of the Indians — Letter of William 
Walker — Communication of S. P. Disosway — Procla- 
mation of Dr. Fisk — Appointment of Jason Lee — Im- 
portant communications — Action of Missionary Board 
—First tour of the United States by Jason Lee — 
Account of Missionary meetings held throughout the 
country, 17-35 



Journey across the Continent— First religious services 
held on the Coast under American auspices— Selec- 
tion of locations for mission stations — The establish- 
ment of the Missions of the M. E. Church in Oregon 
— A great work involving a large expenditure of 
money— Important facts, touching the Oregon ques- 
tion!; gleaned from, letters, communications, records, 
and valuable excerpts from Newspapers— Formation 
of a Cattle Company in Oregon— Hon. William A. 
Slacum— Facts that indicate the great influence of 
Jason Lee in laying the foundations of empire in 
Oregon — Sunday, July 16, 1837, a great day— Marriage 
of Jason Lee— Baptism— Organization of M. E. Church 
in Oregon, 36-57 


Digitized by 


10 Contents 



Mr. Lee's journey East — Death of Mrs. Lee — An important 
memorial — Mr. Lee's correspondence with Hon. Caleb 
Cashing — Arrival of Rev. Jason Lee in New York — 
Work outlined by the Missionary Board that culmi- 
nated in the establishment of American institutions in 
Oregon — Proclamation of Dr. Bangs — Second Mis- 
sionary tour of the United States by Jason Lee — 
Account of numerous and enthusiastic meetings held 
throughout the country — Large audiences and liberal 
offerings — Valuable excerpts from records and news- 
papers of that period — William Brooks - 58-82 



A third memorial to Congress— Mr. Lee's second marriage 
— The Great Reinforcement — Statements of Bishop 
Blanchet, and of Mr. Bancroft, the Historian— Letters 
of Mrs. Judge Terry and Mrs. S. R. Beggs — The 
Lausanne — Letters from Jason Lee, giving an account 
of the voyage halfway around the world — Letter from 
Rev. A. P. Waller — Important notice — Arrival of 
the Missionaries in Oregon — Meeting at Port Van- 
couver — Assignments to their fields of labor— A 
perilous journey — An eloquent prayer — A great re- 
vival — Rev. Daniel Lee — His marriage to Miss Maria 
T. Ware — Important notice — Letters of Jason Lee and 
others, 83-105 



Dr. Richmond appointed to this station — Building of Mis- 
sion House, etc. — Communication from Dr. Richmond 
— Exploring expedition under Capt Charles Wilkes — 
American Mission Settlement at Nisqually — First 4th 
of July celebration held on the Western Coast of 

Digitized by 


Contents 11 

North America, July 5, 1841 — Commemorative cele- 
bration held on the same grounds, July 5, 1906 — 
Nisqually Historically — First religious service in the 
Oregon country — First Protestant Church erected 
North of the Columbia River— Dr. Tolmie— Rev. J. 
F. Devore and the turkeys, ----- 106-127 



Jason Lee's work in Illinois — Statements of Mr. Bancroft, 
the Historian— of Hon. H. W. Scott— Rev. A. D. Field, 
D. D. — Mr. Francis Richmond — Dr. Oregon Rich- 
mond—Rev. William McElfresh— Rev. T. F. Royal 
and Colonel Clark E. Carr — Excerpts from the News- 
paper Press of that period — A matter-of-fact state- 
ment by Abraham Lincoln, 128-146 



Important vote — Timely act of Joseph Meek — Election of 
officers — Fourth of July celebration — Five great acts 
in Oregon drama — Dr. McLoughlin — Great changes — 
First flour mill — First church — First school house — 
First frame dwelling of American construction in 
Oregon — First Camp-meeting— First city founded 
and continuously occupied by Americans on the 
Western coast of North America— Coming of Chris- 
tian women to Oregon — Statement of Daniel Webster 
— Differences of opinion 147-176 



Good leadership necessary to success — Excerpts from his 
report to the Missionary Board — with explanations in 
regard to them — Great injustice done by this action 
— Bringing the remains of Jason Lee to Oregon — Out- 
line of services — Criticisms answered— Jason Lee was 
not a Canadian — Basis of the American and of the 
British claim to the ownership of the Oregon country, 177-221 

Digitized by 


12 Contents 



Established in 1836 by Drs. Whitman and Spalding— The 
Ashburton treaty— Diplomatic correspondence — Con- 
ditions that prevailed in the Missions of the American 
Board, 222-234 





Emigration of 1842— Appointment of Dr. White sub- 
Indian agent for Oregon — Letter of Rev. W. H. Lee 
— Erroneous statements answered and false claims 
refuted— Pacts about Jason Lee's Mission and coloni- 
zation work were published very extensively, - - 235-268 



Oregon — Washington — Idaho— Montana — British Colum- 
bia—Their scenic conditions — Resources — Geograph- 
ical and Commercial importance, etc., - 269-290 



Pacts about the discovery— purchase— extent — Great 
wealth — Variety and vastness of Resources — Climatic 
conditions and rapid development of this great 
Northland, etc., 291-309 

Important letters and communications, .... 310-316 

Digitized by 



Rev. Jason LEE, Frontispiece im* 

Rev. A. Atwood, 4 

Mr. Geo. Catlin, Flathead Indian, Hee-oh-ks-ts-kin, 

h'co-a-h-co-ah-coatbs-min, 20 

Generals Lewis and Clark, Rev. Wilbur Fisk, D. D., 

Rev. Nathan Bangs, D. D., 26 

Excerpt from the Diary of Jason Lee. Written in 

1834, 38 

Ports Vancouver and Waua Walla, .... 40 

willamette falls, willamette plains, - 42 

Mission House— Willamette, Wascopam, - - 44 

Mrs. Anna M. Lee, Prof. P. H. Grubbs, Mrs. P. B. 
Grubbs, Rev. Daniel Lee, Mrs. Daniel Lee, Rev. 
W. H.LEE, 86 

Rev. David Leslie, Rev. A. P. Waller, Mrs. S. R. Beggs, 

Hon. Georoe Abernethy, 88 

Dr. John P. Richmond, Mrs. America Richmond, Dr. 

Oregon Richmond, Mr. Francis Richmond, - - no 

Capt. Charles Wilkes, Slugamus Koqttilton, Meth- 
odist Episcopal Mission House, Nisqually, - - 120 

Hon. R. L. McCormick, Prof. W. H. Gilstrap, Com- 
memorative Monument, 122 

Grounds Where Celebration was Help, - • - 124 


Digitized by 


14 Illustrations 

Fort Nisqually in 1843, Methodist Episcopal Church 

Near Nisqually, 126 

Crossing North Platte, South Pass, - 138 

Dr. John McLoughlin, Dr. W. F. Tolmie, Sir James 

Douglass, Mr. Edward Huggins, .... 162 

Church, Oregon City; Lee Mission Cemetery, - - 166 

Oregon Institute, Jason Lee's Residence, 168 

Rev. Gustavus Hines, Rev. H. K. Hines, D. D., Rev. A. J. 

Joslyn, Hon. C B. Bagley, 220 

Map of the Original Oregon Country, ... 270 

Hon. W. H. Seward, 292 

Uncle Sam's Most Northern School-House, 304 

Bishop J. W. Hamilton and Others, 306 

Digitized by 



Digitized by 


Digitized by 



Beginning of Missionary Work in Oregon, and 
the Causes that Led Up to It 

The events that preceded and led up to the estab- 
lishment of the American mission settlements in Oregon 
were as follows: The Indians who inhabited the east- 
ern part of the Oregon country had learned from the 
trappers, the traders, and the explorers who had passed 
through their settlements, that beyond the confines of 
their own land and east of the great mountains that 
marked the outline of their plains, their forests, and 
their inland seas, there lived a people whose knowledge 
of God made them great and good; that this people 
who lived in the land far away had in their possession 
the Book of Heaven, and that it contained information 
of very great importance about God, about themselves, 
about sin and its destructive consequences, and about 
heaven, and that if they would know the truth about 
these things they must secure this Book and learn and 
practice its teachings. 

From these Indian people sitting in the shadows of 
a pagan night, to whom had come a gleam of light and 
hope, there came a cry for help. 

The sound was weird and majestic, like the echo of 
a distant waterfall. It was earnest, practical, pathetic, 
and had in it a sacredness and an eloquence that was 
Christlike and sublime. 

They wanted to know about God, the Great Spirit; 
2 17 

Digitized by 


18 The Conquerors 

their duty to Him; how to approach Him and secure 
His favor and enjoy His blessing. They had seen His 
signature written in letters of golden light upon the 
archways of the sky. They saw His glory shining out 
from the stars that are set as jewels in the crown of 
the night. They had heard His voice in the wind, 
and listened to the echo of His footfall in the earth- 
quake. They recognized His power in the thunder. 
They saw His goodness reflected in the sunbeams, 
mirrored in the seas, and photographed upon the brow 
of Nature everywhere. They wanted to know about 
the Bible, God's Book, the Book of Heaven, and about 
the great after-life beyond. They wanted teachers to 
come among them and turn the feet of their people into 
the pathways that would lead them Godward. 

In 1832, up among the plains and hills whence come 
the waters of the Columbia (known also as the Oregon) 
and its tributaries, the chiefs and representatives of the 
Indian tribes who inhabited that region met in council. 

Their coming together was grand in its conception 
and purpose. From the beautiful hills and valleys, the 
sunny skies, the running brooks and charming water- 
falls of their own home land, they turned their thoughts 
to God in reverent and sublime contemplation. They 
decided to send four of their number as messengers to 
the white settlements beyond the mountains to secure 
information and help. 

St. Louis at that time was but a little hamlet on 
the frontier, a resort for traders and trappers. To this 
place the messengers came. They had heard of a strange 
star in the East, and like the Magi of the olden time, 
had come to inquire where they might find Him of whom 
Moses in the law and the prophets did write. They 
appealed to General William Clark, who had, a quarter 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 19 

of a century before, with General Meriweather Lewis, 
passed through the country where these messengers 

A book entitled, "The North American Indians," was 
published in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1903, by John Grant, 
consisting of letters and notes of the travels and ex- 
periences of Mr. George Catlin among the Indians of 
North America from 1832 to 1839. 

Mr. Catlin was a skillful artist and painted the faces 
of many of the prominent tribesmen with whom he met 
in his long and extensive travels among the Indians. 

We quote from the one hundred and twenty-fourth 
page of the second volume of this interesting publication : 

These are a very numerous people inhabiting the shores of 
the Columbia River and a vast tract of country lying to the 
south of it. The name "Flathead" was applied to many tribes 
of Indians who inhabited the Pacific coast, and was given be- 
cause of a custom that prevailed among them of flattening the 
heads of their children by strapping them to a board and holding 
them as if in a vise; this process was continued until the heads 
presented the deformed appearance seen in the picture. 

The Nez Perces inhabited the upper waters and 
mountainous parts of the Columbia. 1 

1 The names of the two Indian messengers are given in the exact form that 
they appear in Mr. Catlin's book. Hee-oh-ks-te-kin (the rabbit skin leggins) and 
H'co-a-h-co-eh'Cotes-min (no horns on his head) are young men of this tribe. These 
two young men, when I painted them, were in beautiful Sioux dresses, which had 
been presented to them by the Sioux, who had treated them very kindly while 
passing through the Sioux country. These two men were a part of a delegation 
that came across the Rocky Mountains to St. Louis, a few years since, to inquire 
for the truth of a representation, which they said some white man had made 
amongst them, " that our religion was better than theirs, and that they would be 
lost if they did not embrace it." Two old and venerable men of this party died in 
St. Louis, and I traveled two thousand miles, companion of these two young fel- 
lows, towards their own country, and became much pleased with their manner and 

The last mentioned of the two died near the mouth of the Yellow Stone River 
On his way home, and the other one, I have since learned, arrived safely amongst 

Digitized by 


20 The Conquerors 

An exploring expedition, under the leadership of Gen- 
eral Meriweather Lewis and General William Clark, was 
sent overland to the Pacific coast by the United States 
Government in 1805. They reached the mouth of the 
Columbia River, November 14th of that year. They es- 
tablished winter quarters at Clatsop, where they remained 
until March 23, 1806, when they started homeward over 
the same route by which they came. 

It is possible that the journey of many moons made 
by the Indians in their effort to find the Book of Heaven 
was brought about in some measure by the expedition 
of Lewis and Clark. General Clark was a Catholic, a 
religious man, and observed the ceremonial rites of his 
Church. His company, in going West and on their re- 
turn East, camped in the country inhabited by the In- 
dian tribes who in the after years sent their representa- 
tives to St. Louis. 

They were cognizant of the acts of worship and 
religious ceremonies observed by this band of explorers. 
They may have participated to some extent in them. 
There is no doubt but that a deep and lasting impres- 

his friends, conveying to them the melancholy intelligence of the deaths of all the 
rest of the party ; but assurances at the same time were given them from General 
Clark and many reverend gentlemen that the report that they had heard was well 
founded, and that missionaries, good and religious men, would soon come amongst 
them to teach this religion, so that they could all understand it and have the bene- 
fits of it. 

When I first heard the report of the object of this extraordinary mission across 
the mountains I could scarcely believe it, but on conversing with General Clark, 
on a future occasion, I was fully convinced of the facts, and I, like thousands of 
others, have had the satisfaction of witnessing the complete success that has 
crowned the bold and daring exertions of Mr. Lee and Mr. Spalding, two reverend 
gentlemen who have answered in a Christian manner to this unprecedented call, 
and triumphantly proved to the world that the Indians, in their native wilds, are 
a kind and friendly people, and susceptible to mental improvement. 

I. have seen the Rev. Mr. Lee and the Rev. Mr. Spalding, and I am fully con- 
vinced of the complete success of the work of these excellent and persevering 

Digitized by 





Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 21 

sion was made upon their minds by the presence of these 
men and the observance of their forms of worship. 

Rev. George F. Whitworth, D. D., of the Presby- 
terian Church, who is familiar with the history of the 
religious work done among the Nez Perces, says, "The 
four Indians who went to St. Louis were Nez Perces." 
He refers to a letter written by Miss McBeth, a mis- 
sionary at Lapwai, Idaho, which greatly strengthens his 
own view of this matter. The letter is as follows : 

Some time after Lewis and Clark left here, the Nez Perces 
heard from some source about God, and very soon the Sun 
Pole was set up near Walla Walla. They recalled the upward 
gestures of Lewis and Clark, saying, "Now we know what they 
meant The sun is called God." Years passed on, and in their 
groping they added more ceremonies to their worship, but 
still their hearts were not satisfied, and their annual councils 
were closed with these words, "If we could find the path of 
Lewis and Clark, they would tell us the truth about God and 
the Book the white man has from heaven." 

At last they decided to go, and two Indians from the Kamiah 
community were chosen. A third was from a Salmon River 
band of Nez Perces. 

Their road led them through the Flathead country, and 
they were joined by a half-and-half Flathead and Nez Perces. 
These are the four men who went to St. Louis. Not a Nez 
Perces, old or young, but that has heard of their fathers going 
out to find the truth or the light. The appeal they made touched 
the hearts of Christian people everywhere. The pulpit and the 
press of the Methodist Episcopal Church urged that the call 
be answered promptly.* 

An Important Letter. 
The Christian Advocate and Journal, New York, the 
j leading official organ of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 

J S The Nez Perces are a branch of the Flathead Indian family. They did 

i not conform rigidly to the custom of flattening the head. They possess greater 

I vigor of body and mind than any of the tribes that occupied the Oregon country, 

1 and hare not succumbed as readily and rapidly to the ravages of disease and death. 

Digitized by 


22 The Conquerors 

in its issue of March i, 1833, publishes a letter written 
by Mr. William Walker to Mr. G. P. Disosway. Mr. 
Walker was the agent and interpreter in the Wyandot 
Indian Mission. We give herewith a few extracts from 
this important letter: 

Immediately after we landed in St. Louis, I proceeded 
to Gen. Clark's superintendent of Indian affairs to present our 
letters of introduction from the Secretary of War. While in 
his office and transacting business with him, he informed me 
that three chiefs from the Flathead Nation, west of the Rocky 
Mountains, were at his house and were sick, and that one, the 
fourth, had died a few days ago. 

Never having seen any of these Indians, but often heard 
of them, I was prompted to step into an adjoining room to 
see them. I was struck with their appearance. They differ 
from any Indians I have ever seen; small, delicately formed, 
and the most exact symmetry. 

The distance they had traveled on foot was nearly three 
thousand miles. They said they had come to see General Clark, 
their great father, upon very important business. 

General Clark related to me the object of their mission, and, 
my dear friend, it is impossible for me to describe my feelings 
while listening to his narrative. I will relate it briefly: Some 
white men had passed through their country and witnessed their 
religious ceremonies, that they scrupulously performed at stated 

He informed them that their mode of worship was radically 
wrong, and, instead of being acceptable, it was displeasing to 
the Great Spirit. He also informed them that the white people, 
away over toward the rising sun, had the true mode of worship- 
ing God, that they had a Book containing directions so that 
they could hold converse with Him, and all who would follow 
the directions given in this Book would enjoy His favor in this 
life and, after death, would be received into the country where 
the Great Spirit resides and live forever. Upon receiving this 
information, they called a national council to take the subject 
into consideration. Some said: "If this be true, we must know 
more about it; it is a matter that can not be put off." They 
accordingly deputed four of their chiefs to proceed to St. Louis 
to see their great father, General Clark, and learn the whole 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 28 

truth about it General Clark, being sensible of his responsi- 
bility, gave them a history of man, from his creation down to 
the advent of the Savior; explained to them the moral precepts 
contained in the Bible; informed them about the Savior, His 
life, His death, resurrection, ascension, and the relation He bears 
to man as a Mediator — that He would judge the world, etc . . . 
Poor fellows, the change of climate and of diet operated 
very seriously upon their health. . . . 

How dense their night and dark their day. 
They sought for light to guide their way 

Through life, and to the great beyond. 
They traveled far to find the Book 
That bade them to the Savior look 

For help and hope and heaven. 

He-oh-ks-te-kin, upon his departure from St. Louis, 
made a speech of remarkable beauty and tenderness. 
Dr. H. K. Hines, in his book, "Missionary History of 
the Pacific Northwest," gives the text of this address, 
from which we take a few excerpts: 

We come to you over a trail of many moons from the 
setting sun. . . . We come to you with our eyes partly opened 
for more light for our people, who sit in darkness. . . . We 
made our way to you with strong arms, through many enemies 
and strange lands. . . . The two fathers who came with 
us — the braves of many winters — we leave here asleep by your 
great wigwam. They were tired in their journey of many moons, 
and their moccasins were worn out Our people sent us to 
get the white man's Book of Heaven. . . . 

You have made our feet heavy with burdens of gifts, and 
our moccasins will grow old with carrying them, but the Book 
is not among them. We are going back over the long, sad 
trail to our people. When we tell them in our big council, 
after one more snow, that we did not bring the Book, no word 
will be spoken by our old men, nor by our young braves. One 
by one they will rise up and go out in silence. Our people will 
die in darkness, and they will go on the long path to other 
hunting grounds. No white man will go with them, and no 
Book of Heaven to make the way plain. We have no more 
words — Farewell 

Digitized by 


24 The Conquerors 

This was a wonderful speech — weird, pathetic, elo- 
quent, and sublime. Dr. Hines says: "There is a sad, 
wild pathos in that speech. As soon as the words had 
fallen from the lips of the speaker, these red men turned 
away westward, toward their homes." 

Was this mission of these children of the moun- 
tains a failure? To them individually, Yes. But to the 
American Church, to the Pacific coast, and to Meth- 
odism, No. 

A few months after the departure of these Indians, 
their story was published in the newspapers and was read 
in all the cities and villages of the land. Its publication 
in the Christian Advocate and Journal thrilled the heart 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church as it never had been 
thrilled before. 

The communication from Mr. Walker is followed, in 
the next column of the same paper and date, with an 
article by Mr. G. P. Disosway, from which we give a 
few excerpts: 

How deeply affecting is the circumstance of the four native 
chiefs traveling on foot three thousand miles, sincere searchers 
after truth ! The story has scarcely a parallel in history. . . . 
With what intense concern will men of God, whose souls are 
fired with holy zeal for the salvation of their fellow-men, read 
of their journey. . . . 

They are not ignorant of the immortality of their souls, 
and speak of a great country where departed spirits rest. 

May we not indulge the hope that the day is not far distant 
when missionaries will penetrate these wilds, where the Sabbath 
bell has never yet tolled since the world began? . . . Let the 
Church awake from her slumbers and go forth in her strength 
and labor for the salvation of these wandering children of 
the forest. We are citizens of this vast universe, and our life 
embraces not merely a moment but eternity itself. Thus exalted, 
what can be more worthy of our high destination than to be- 
friend our species and assist them in the efforts they are putting 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 25 

forth to free themselves from the chains of error and super- 
stition, and bring them to the knowledge of the true God? 
New York, February 18, 1833. G. P. D. 

The following is a verbatim copy of the appeal of 
Rev. Wilbur Fisk, D. D., as it appeared in the Christian 
Advocate and Journal, and in Z ion's Herald, March 22, 





Who will respond to the call from beyond the Rocky Moun- 

Messrs. Editors,— The communication of Brother G. P. 
Dissosway, including one from the Wyandot agent, on the 
subject of the deputation of the Flathead Indians to General 
Clark, has excited in many in this section intense interest 

We are for having a mission established there at once. I 
have proposed the following plan: Let two suitable men, un- 
encumbered with families, and possessing the spirit of the 
martyrs, throw themselves into the nation, live with them, learn 
their language, preach Christ to them, and, as the way opens, 
introduce schools, agriculture, and the arts of civilized life. The 
means for these improvements can be introduced through the 
fur traders, and by reinforcements with which from time to time 
we can strengthen the mission. 

Money shall be forthcoming. I will be bondsman for the 
Church. All we want is the men. Who will go? Who? I 
know one young man who, I think, will go, and of whom I 
can say, I know of none like him for the enterprise. If he 
will go (and I have written to him on the subject), we only 
want another, and the mission will be commenced the coming 
season. Were I young and unencumbered, how joyfully would 
I go! But this honor is reserved for another. Bright will be 
his crown. Glorious his reward. 

Affectionately yours, W. Fisk. 

Wesleyan University, March 9, 1833. 

Rev. Nathan Bangs, D. D., was the corresponding 
secretary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church. 

Digitized by 


26 The Conquerors 

Rev. Wilbur Fisk, D. D., was the president of Wil- 
braham College. 

Mr. G. P. Disosway was born in New York City, 
December 6, 1798. For many years he was a suc- 
cessful drygoods merchant. He possessed fine literary 
ability and was an extensive writer. He was at one 
time a prominent officer of the Missionary, the Sunday- 
school, and the Tract Societies of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church. He was regarded by Drs. Fisk, Bangs, 
Olin, Jason Lee, and others, as the father of the mis- 
sion to the Flathead Indians. This fact was referred 
to at his funeral service and also in the obituary notice 
of him that appeared in the Christian Advocate and 
Journal, July 30, 1868. He died July 10, 1868. 

The money contributed by Mr. Disosway to the cause 
of missions led to the formation of the Missionary So- 
ciety of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1819. He 
was not only the father of the Oregon Mission, but of 
the Missionary Society itself. 

A large number of letters and communications ap- 
pear in the Christian Advocate and Journal immediately 
following the publication of the articles referred to; 
they embrace different dates and came from sundry places 
and persons. All of the writers commended the effort 
to establish a mission in Oregon, and some of the letters 
contained a remittance to assist in beginning the work. 

The following is from the Christian Advocate and 
Journal of May 10, 1833: 


_ ^ St. Louis. Mo., April 16th. 

Dsak Bwmm«N: 

The communication respecting the Flathead Indians, which 
appeared in your paper, and the call of Dr. Fisk, excited con- 
siderable attention. 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 27 

General Clark informed me that the publication which ap- 
peared in the Advocate was correct, and that the cause of the 
visit of the Indians was: Two of their number had received 
an education at some Jesuitical school in Montreal, Canada, and 
had returned to the tribe and endeavored, so far as possible, 
to instruct their brethren how the whites approached the Great 

A spirit of inquiry was aroused, a deputation was appointed, 
and a tedious journey of three thousand miles was performed 
to learn for themselves of Jesus and Him crucified. . . . 
Yours as ever, E. W. Sehon. 

A very interesting and lengthy article, bearing date, 
December 13, 1833, appeared in the Christian Advocate 
and Journal under the caption, "Mission to the Flathead 
Indians." The chief points are as follows: 

1st. Visit of Jason Lee to Boston, accompanied by Dr. 

2d. Meets Captain Wyeth at Cambridge, lately returned from 
the Columbia River, with two natives from the Flathead tribes, 
one a boy of fourteen (half-breed), the other an Indian boy 
of twenty. 

3d. Missionary meeting at Bromfield Church; sermon by 
Dr. Fisk, address by Captain Wyeth and Jason Lee. 

4th. Another missionary meeting (Sunday), "intense inter- 
est." Sermon by Dr. Fisk; address by Jason Lee. The two 
Indian boys were presented. 

The following is copied from the records of the Mis- 
sionary Society in New York: 

Green Street, March 20, 1853. 

Communication from Rev. Wilbur Fisk in relation to a 
mission to the Flathead Indians. 

After some conversation, it was: Resolved, That the cor- 
responding secretary be requested to correspond with the bishop 
on the subject and also to open a correspondence with General 
Clark, the Indian agent, and with any other person he may 
judge expedient in relation to said mission. 

Wednesday, April 17, 1833. 

Digitized by 


28 The Conquerors 

The corresponding secretary reported that he had 
had an interview with Bishop Emory, who stated that 
he had seen Mr. Raub, of the War Department, in re- 
gard to the Flathead Indians, and that a correspondence 
had been opened up with General Clark on the subject. 

On motion of Rev. Nathan Bangs, the following reso- 
lutions were passed: 

Whereas, A providential opening appears to be presented for 
the establishment of a mission among the Flathead Indians west 
of the Rocky Mountains, and 

Whereas, Several young men have offered their services for 
this work, and money has been pledged for their support ; there- 

Resolved, That this board earnestly and respectfully request 
the bishops to adopt such measures as they see fit for the speedy 
establishment of an aboriginal mission west of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, at such place, or places, as they shall think proper to 

May 4, 1833. 

A special meeting of the board was held Rev. Samuel 
Merwin presided. Dr. Ruter, of Pittsburg, opened with prayer, 
after which highly interesting letters were read from sundry 
persons in St. Louis in relation to the Flathead Indians who 
had recently visited that place. 

July 17, 1833. 

The treasurer reported having received a letter from 
Bishop Hedding announcing the appointment of Rev. 
Jason Lee as superintendent of the mission among the 
Flathead Indians. Two associates were appointed, viz., 
Rev. Daniel Lee, a nephew of the superintendent, and 
Cyrus Shepard. 

Before Mr. Lee started upon his journey across the 
continent, the names of Mr. P. L. Edwards and a Mr. 
Walker were added to the company. These were the 
vanguard of missionaries who came to Oregon. 

Mr. Lee was admitted into the New England Con- 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 29 

ference at its session in 1833, and ordained deacon and 
elder, and received from the bishop the official desig- 
nation of "Missionary to the Flathead Indians/' 

The following fall and winter he traveled south in the in- 
terest of his work. He visited Washington with a view to 
securing the endorsement of the Government to his contemplated 
settlement in Oregon. This was necessary for the reason that, 
under the treaty of "Joint Occupancy/' the country was open 
alike to settlement by the citizens of the United States and of 
Great Britain, therefore he needed the permit of the Government 
to shield him from interference from those who might be hostile 
to him and his work. Hence he secured the endorsement of the 
President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and the 
Secretary of War. — ''Missionary History of the Pacific North- 
west," by Dr. H. K. Hints. 

Mr. Lee seems to have had an adequate conception of 
the greatness of the Oregon country, and of the importance of 
his work. Before leaving the Atlantic Coast, he visited Wash- 
ington and interviewed the President, to whom he unfolded 
his plans and from whom he secured executive endorsement 
and promise of assistance. — From address of Hon. Allen Weir, 
at the Jason Lee Memorial Service held in Salem, Oregon, June 
i$, 1906. 

He thus entered upon his work backed, not only by 
the authority of what he believed to be a divine com- 
mission and by appointment of the Missionary Society 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but also with the 
consent and co-operation of the United States Govern- 
ment, made in such manner as to give the stamp of 
its authority and approval to him and to his work. The 
Government thereby assumed a measure of responsibility 
in this transaction and entered into a kind of co-partner- 
ship with him in his effort for the evangelization and 
colonization of Oregon. In January, 1834, the Mission- 
ary Board gave its sanction to the arrangements made 
by Mr. Lee with Captain Nathaniel Wyeth, of Boston, 

Digitized by 


80 The Conquerors 

who had visited the Columbia River the preceding year, 
and was preparing to dispatch a vessel to that river, 
and in the spring would lead a party overland to the 
same point. This was regarded as a providential oppor- 
tunity to ship the outfit designed for the establishment 
of the mission. These goods were forwarded in Cap- 
tain Wyeth's brig, the Maydacre, and it was determined 
that Mr. Lee and his helperss should accompany the over- 
land expedition in the spring. 

We give herewith a brief statement of some of the 
many missionary meetings held by Jason Lee, and the 
amount of the offerings contributed by the people at these 
gatherings for the founding of an American missionary 
colony in Oregon, as reported in the Christian Advocate 
and Journal of that period : 

New Haven, Conn. — Missionary meeting, held in this city No- 
vember 10, 1833; offering, $422.71. 

Forsyth Church, New York, November 20, 1833. — Meeting of 
intense interest; offering, $159.68. 

Syracuse, N. Y., November 22, 1833.— Offering, $50. This 
was a Presbyterian Church ; the pastor's name was J. W. Adams. 

Boston. — Missionary meeting in Bromfield Church, Decem- 
ber 13, 1833; offering, $210. 

Washington, D. C, March 21, 1834. — Offering, $52.02. 

Samuel Dickinson, of Louisville, Ky., under date of March 
28, 1834, writes : "Rev. Jason Lee arrived in this city March 22d ; 
Tuesday evening following a great missionary meeting was held; 
on the platform were Methodists and Presbyterians. A collec- 
tion was taken." 

October 10, 1833, the missionaries met in New York for 
conference with the Missionary Board and final preparation for 
their work. The Board appropriated $3,000 for the outfitting 
of the mission, and arrangements were made for the early de- 
parture of the missionaries. 

A farewell missionary meeting was held in Forsyth Street 
Church in New York, November 20, 1833, at which Bishop 
Hedding presided, and Dr. Bangs, corresponding secretary of 
the Missionary Society, and Dr. McAuley, of the American Board 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 81 

of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and several others made 

From the Pittsburg Journal, and republished in the 
Christian Advocate and Journal, April 18, 1834: 

On last Sabbath our friends in this city were favored with 
the ministerial services of Rev. Jason Lee, on hi3 way to the 
Flathead Indians on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. 
. . . His colleague remained at Alexandria for ordination. He 
will join Mr. Lee at Cincinnati. ... On Tuesday evening, the 
nth inst., a large audience assembled in the Methodist Church 
to hear Mr. Lee. 

Rev. C. H. Caston took the chair. . . . 

Rev. Jason Lee addressed the audience for over one hour 
with great effect 

A collection of one hundred and twenty dollars was taken. 

Notices of missionary meetings and of collections 
taken for the Flathead Mission in Oregon are found in 
almost every issue of the Advocate, and in some of them 
several such notices appear: 


Revs. Jason and Daniel Lee left the city of New York on 
the 29th inst on their way to St. Louis, preparatory to their 
journey over the Rocky Mountains. They will spend next 
Sabbath in Philadelphia, the Sabbath after in Baltimore, and 
the following Sabbath in Washington. In each of these places 
they will hold meetings and take collections for the benefit of 
the Flathead Mission, in conformity to the instruction of the 
Board of Managers of the Missionary Society of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church. On leaving the city of Washington, they 
will proceed on their way West, stopping at all important places, 
and present the claims of the Mission.— Christian Advocate and 
Journal, January, 21, 1834. 

In issue of February 21, 1834 under the above caption, is 
published a letter from Jason Lee, dated Philadelphia, February 
8, 1834. He speaks of the liberal offerings of the people, and 

Digitized by 


82 The Conquerors 

"the strongly indicated providence of God, that had marked the 
development of his missionary enterprise from its commence- 
ment/' and says: "We have made arrangements to cross the 
mountains with Captain Wyeth, whose company will consist of 
about fifty persons. ... 

The following excerpt is from a letter written by 
Cyrus Shepard, "On Board the steamer Ioway, ascend- 
ing the Missouri River, April 10, 1834," and published 
in the Christian Advocate and Journal, June 20, 1834: 

The Lord has graciously given us favor with our friends in 
the West, so that at every place where we have called we have 
received the most cordial and hearty welcome, been entertained 
freely, and have received liberal contributions from the people 
for the support of the mission. ... At Cincinnati we were 
favored with the society of Bro. James B. Finley. ... At 
Louisville and St Louis we were received in the arms of 
Christian affection. . . . 

Yours in Christian affection, Cyrus Shepard. 

Zion's Herald contains a large amount of valuable 
information touching the work of Jason Lee. We give 
herewith a few references to this subject found in its 
columns, with date of publication: 

In issue of April 3, 1833, is an article entitled, "Flat- 
head Indians," containing extracts from and comments 
on the letter of Mr. William Walker, previously referred 
to in these pages. 

In issue of May 1, 1833, are two communications 
in response to the above article and an announcement 
of the formation of a society, the object of which was 
to aid Jason Lee in his work in the Oregon Mission. 

In issue of May 8, 1833, there appears an important 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 88 

letter from Rev. Wilbur Fisk, and that of May 22d 
contains an article written by A. McAllister, of St. 
Louis, touching the Oregon Mission. 

Issues of June 19, July 3, 24, and 31, 1833, con- 
tain facts and items of interest and importance about 
the preparation that was being made for the establish- 
ment of the mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
in Oregon. 

Issue of August 7th has an article taken from the 
New York Observer, also a letter to Wilbur Fisk, signed 
"X X New London," each of them referring to matters 
of interest connected with the Oregon Mission. Also 
a letter to Mr. G. P. Disosway, containing an offer of 
two thousand dollars for mission work in Oregon. 

Issues of August 21st and 28th contain acknowledg- 
% ments of contributions received for Mr. Lee's mission 

In issue of November 13th, an article is copied from 
the New York Observer, which refers to the effort of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church to establish a mission 
in Oregon, and the writer makes a contribution of money 
to this work. 

Issue of December 4, 1833, gives an account of a 
visit of Rev. Jason Lee to Boston on the eve of his 
departure for the West. A great missionary meeting 
was held in Bromfield Street Church; many questions 
were asked about the Oregon country, and were answered 
by Captain Nathaniel Wyeth. A liberal contribution was 
made to the Oregon Mission. 

Issue of December 18, 1833, contains an article en- 
titled, "Missionary Meetings," and embraces an account 
of large and enthusiastic meetings held at New Haven 
and another at Lynn, addressed by Jason Lee. The con- 
tributions aggregated $572.71. 

Digitized by 


84 The Conquerors 

The paper of the same date reproduces an article 
from the New York Observer, under the caption, "Ore- 
gon Expedition," with extracts from a letter of John 
Ball, in which reference is madeto Captain Wyeth, to 
Jason Lee, and to the mission the Methodist Episcopal 
Church was about to establish in Oregon. The writer 
gives a graphic description of the Oregon country, its 
geographical formation, climate, character of soil, its 
location, and its political and commercial importance as 
a part of the territory of the United States. 

Issue of January I, 1834, contains a second letter 
from Mr. Ball on the "Oregon Expedition," copied from 
the New York Observer. 

On January 8th is published a third letter from Mr. 
Ball on the "Oregon Expedition." It is copied from the 
New York Commercial Advertiser. 

Issue of January 226. contains an account of ser- 
mons and addresses delivered by Rev. Jason Lee at 
Charlestown, Mass., and other points. 

Paper of January 29th publishes acknowledgments 
of moneys received for the Oregon missionary move- 

Issues of March 26th and of the following week 
give an interesting account of Jason Lee's work in be- 
half of the Oregon Mission, in Pittsburg, Pa., and 
Louisville, Ky.; of the contributions taken, and of the 
great interest and enthusiasm manifested. 

May 21, 1834; issue of this date describes a great 
missionary meeting held in St. Louis, addressed by Revs. 
Jason and Daniel Lee. The service was held in the 
Methodist Church. A large congregation was present. 
Prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Howell, of the Epis- 
copal Church ; address by Rev. Jason Lee, of which the 
writer says: 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 85 

In a most forcible manner he advocated the cause of mis- 
sions. ... He gave a history of the origin of this mission 
and his call to the same. . . . The deepest interest was felt 
during his address. . . ." Daniel Lee was the next speaker. 
"He failed not to gain every eye and affect every heart He said 
this is a very interesting meeting, and no doubt deemed such 
by all present, but particularly so by himself, when he remem- 
bered that he stood upon the verge of civilization and that this 
was the last time for years, perhaps forever, that he should 
stand within walls like these and worship God with his brethren. 
He told of the farewell scene between his father and himself, 
and referred to the death of the two Indians in the city while 
on a visit to General Gark and said, if their graves could be 
pointed out, he would go there and on his knees beg the God of 
missions to aid them in their great undertaking. He then asked 
the prayers of the congregation and bade them farewell." 

Rev. Mr. Botts, of the Presbyterian Church, made an elo- 
quent address and very touchingly referred to the visit of the 
Flathead Indians to General Clark's Indian Agency. Rev. Mr. 
Hatfield, of the Presbyterian Church, was the last speaker. A 
collection was taken, and prayer was offered by Rev. John 
Mitchell, of the Illinois Conference. The closing paragraph of 
this long and important letter is as follows : 

"Brother Lee wished an agent appointed in this city by the 
Missionary Board, who should act as a medium of corre- 
spondence and transact here the general business of the mission. 
This is very important. We spoke to Rev. J. Tabor, a local 
preacher of this city, and we heartily recommend him as a 
suitable person for such an office. I hope that the appoint- 
ment may be made. Brother Lee will write you from Liberty." 

This communication is signed by E. W. Sehon. 

In issue of June 18, 1834, is published an interest- 
ing letter from Jason Lee, and in issue of September 
24th a communication from Cyrus Shepard, each of 
which give important facts associated with this great 
missionary movement. 

Digitized by 


On the Oregon Trail 

On the way across the plains and over the mountin 
trails, Jason Lee wrote several letters to the Missionary 
Society. They are written under the heading, "Flat- 
head Mission," and are directed "To the Corresponding 
Secretary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church." 

These letters describe the journey and show the in- 
tense interest of the writer in the great missionary work 
upon which he had entered. They are lengthy and in- 
teresting ; one of them is dated "Rocky Mountains, July 
i, 1834," and contains much memoranda bearing dif- 
ferent dates, and was published in the Christian Advo- 
cate and Journal, September 26, 1834: 

Mr. Lee and his party left Independence, on the Missouri 
frontier, on the last day of April, 1834. They traveled with 
Captain Wyeth and his band of trappers and traders, numbering 
about two hundred men. Once beyond the pale of civilization, 
these men were a law unto themselves. They were bold and 
reckless and chafed under the restraints of civilized life. Threats 
of violence to the missionaries had been made. Mr. Lee had 
been advised of this by Captain Wyeth. He thanked the Captain 
for the information, but said that "he feared no man, and had 
no apprehension of difficulty." He sought an introduction to 
those who had threatened him. He talked to them about the 
different phases of their mountain life. He so won their respect 
that thereafter they were ready to serve him in any way in their 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 87 

Mr. Townshand, a scientific gentleman traveling with 
the expedition, says of Mr. Lee, in his own journal : 

Mr. Lee is a great favorite with the men— deservedly so, and 
there are probably few persons to whose preaching they would 
have listened with so much pleasure. I have been amused and 
pleased with Mr. Lee's manner of reproving them for their 
carelessness and profanity of expression. The reproof, though 
decided, clear, and strong, is always characterized by the mild- 
ness and affectionate manner peculiar to the man, and although 
the good effect of the advice was not always discernible, yet 
it is always treated with respect and its utility is acknowledged. 
—"Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest," page 71. 

Mr. Lee reached the summit ridge of the Rocky 
Mountains June 15th. Here the misssionaries changed 
their companionship and associated themselves with the 
company of Mr. T. McKay, with whom there were a 
number of Indians from the Columbia River region. 
When they learned who the missionaries were and what 
was their purpose in the country, they presented Mr. 
Lee with two fine horses, and expressed much gratifi- 
cation that there was a prospect of his stopping per- 
manently in the country. 

"The bark that bore Caesar and his fortunes bore 
not half so momentous a burden as did the beast that 
bore Jason Lee on his mission to Oregon." — Dr. H. K. 

First Reugious Services. 

The first religious services west of the Rockies, con- 
ducted by Rev. Jason Lee, were held at Fort Hall, in 
latitude 43 14' north and longitude 112 30' west, on 
the south bank of the Lewis, or the Snake River, in 
what is now Southwestern Idaho, July 27, 1834. 

Mr. Lee, in his journal, says: 

We repaired to the grove about half past three o'clock for 
public worship. I did not attempt to preach, but gave a short 

Digitized by 


88 The Conquerors 

exhortation from I Cor. x, 31 : "Whether, therefore, yet eat or 
drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." In the 
evening two of Mr. McKay's men ran a horse race; one of the 
men was thrown from the horse and killed. The next day, 
Monday, Mr. McKay asked me to conduct a funeral service. I 
attended at twelve o'clock, read the 90th Psalm, prayed, and then 
went to the grave, where I read a part of the fifteenth chapter 
of First Corinthians, and also read the burial service as found 
in our Discipline. 

This was the first funeral service held west of the 
Rockies by an American clergyman. 

Mr. Lee preached twice at Fort Vancouver, Sep- 
tember 28, 1834. This was a cosmopolitan congrega- 
tion and consisted of Americans, English, Scotch, French, 
Irish, Japanese, Kanakas, half-breeds, and Indians. 
Among them were persons of the highest intelligence 
and others of the deepest ignorance. We give herewith 
a facsimile excerpt from Mr. Lee's diary, in which he 
refers to this service. 1 

October 19th he preached at the house of Mr. Ger- 
vais, near the present town of Gervais, from Ezekiel 
xxxiii, 11, "Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for 
why will ye die, O house of Israel." These were the 
first religious services held on the Pacific coast of North 
America under American auspices. They marked the 
beginning of the work that has been remarkable in the 
magnitude and significance of its results, not only in 
a religious, but in a civil and commercial sense as well. 

On the 14th day of December, 1834, Mr. Lee preached 
at Fort Vancouver, and baptized four adults and seven- 
teen children. No doubt these were the first persons 

1 The service held at Fort Hall was an incident in the journey of Mr. Lee to 
Oregon. That at Vancouver was hit first deliverance on the coast that he called a 
sermon. It was also the first service he held in the region of country where his 
is established. 

Digitized by 


Written in 1834. 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 89 

consecrated to the Lord in baptism in the Oregon coun- 
try. Mr. Lee was a great favorite with the people at 
the fort, as he also was with the French and half-castes 
near Gervais. They for the most part were Canadians 
and Catholics, yet his influence with them was very 
strongly marked, and continued as long as he remained 
in the country. 

The pioneer Methodist ministers and laymen who, 
under God, laid the foundations of empire in this land 
of the setting sun, builded better than they knew. They 
were men of heroic mold. They endured trials, made 
sacrifices, and braved dangers that, in the light of the 
changed conditions of the present, seem almost incred- 
ible. They not only blazed the pathway for the on- 
coming of Christian civilization, but they brought it with 
them; they themselves were the founders and the ex- 
ponents of civilization in this new land. They incor- 
porated its principles in their own hearts and lives and, 
with voice and pen and themselves consecrated to their 
God-given work, they laid the foundations of individual, 
of social, civil, and religious liberty and life in Oregon. 

First in the order of his coming, and pre-eminently 
first in point of sanctified leadership, was Jason Lee. 
Strong in body and in mind, of princely mien and kingly 
birth, he and his compeers could claim a lineage that 
outranked that of earthborn royalty. They were the 
children of a King to whose reign there will be no end. 
In His name they set up their banners. 

The greatness and far-reaching benefits of the work 
of these stalwart men and women is seen in its effects 
in molding the character of the white population com- 
ing to these shores ; in the splendid citizenship they fos- 
tered and encouraged; in the pure and elevated home 
life they inspired and exemplified; in the institutions 

Digitized by 


40 The Conquerors 

they established — these were the outgrowth of their ex- 
ample, their teachings, and their efforts. They thus be- 
queathed to the people an inheritance of priceless worth. 

In addition to those who came to the coast with 
Jason Lee in 1834, Revs. David Leslie and H. K. W. 
Perkins came in 1837. These ministers, with their fami- 
lies, constituted the vanguard of the great missionary 
corps of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Oregon. 
Associated with them were lay members of the Church, 
who, with their families, were sent out as physicians, 
teachers, tradesmen, mechanics, farmers, and laborers, 
v/hose services were needed to carry on the work at 
the several missionary stations. 

In the spring of 1837, Dr. Elijah White and wife, 
Alanson Beers and wife, Miss Anna M. Pittman, Miss 
Susan Downing, and Miss Elvira Johnson came as a 
reinforcement to the mission, and in the autumn of that 
year Miss Margaret Smith's name was added to the 
list. This year was marked by the coming of a large 
number of efficient helpers in the work at the mission 

Mr. Lee's wisdom and forecast is indicated in a 
marked degree in his selection of the places where he 
established his mission stations. Salem, the center of 
the Willamette Valley, one of the most beautiful val- 
leys on the continent; the Dalles, the key to the great 
inland empire ; Astoria, at the entrance of the Columbia ; 
Oregon City, contiguous to Portland; Nisqually, on 
Puget Sound, practically the region now occupied by 
Tacoma. Every one of these places is a strategic point 
to reach and from which to touch the regions beyond. 

In the unfolding light of the years that have inter- 
vened, it is easy to see that it would have been impos- 
sible to have made better selections. 

Digitized by 





Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 41 

Dr. John McLoughlin, general manager of the Hud- 
son Bay Company, was a man of great candor and 
clear judgment. He suggested to Mr. Lee the importance 
of establishing a mission in the Willamette Valley, as 
the following note, found among his papers, will indi- 

In 1834 Revs. Jason and Daniel Lee and Messrs. Walker 
and P. L. Edwards came, with Mr. Wyeth, to establish a mission 
in the Flathead country. I observed to them that to do good 
among the Indians they must establish themselves where they 
could collect the Indians around them, teach them first to 
cultivate the ground and live more comfortably than they do 
by hunting, and, as they do this, teach them religion. That the 
Willamette afforded them a fine field, and that they ought to 
go there. They followed my advice and went to the Willamette. 

Mr. Lee investigated this matter carefully before he 
selected the point near Salem as the headquarters of 
his mission work on the Pacific coast, and, no doubt, as 
the result of the exercise of his own view of the case, 
yet it is pleasing to note that his judgment accorded 
with the opinion of Dr. McLoughlin. 

The control of these centers became factors of great 
influence and power, and before the close of 1840 Lee's 
army of occupation had taken such possession of them 
that the United States Government held the key to the 
permanent occupancy and control of the Pacific coast 

At the mission station on the Willamette three log 
houses were erected. The main building was twenty by 
thirty feet in size ; on the table in the mission room was 
a copy of the Bible, and on the wall over the fireplace 
was a copy of the Declaration of Independence. The 
Oregon of to-day was born and cradled in this house. 

The settlement thus established on the banks of the 
Willamette had a vigorous growth. In 1840 the swad- 

Digitized by 


42 The Conquerors 

dling clothes the child had worn were exchanged for 
garments of larger size and of American pattern, and in 
July, 1843, ^e youth of yesterday set up housekeeping 
for himself. 

The influence exerted by and through this mission 
settlement reached all parts of the United States and 
touched every phase of the Oregon question, and made 
the American conquest of Oregon inevitable. 

Regular Sunday and week-day services were held at 
the mission house. Special revival services, however, 
were held from time to time. One of the most notable 
meetings of this character had its beginning at a love- 
feast held Sunday morning, December 30, 1838. The 
services were in charge of Rev. David Leslie and Rev. 
H. K. W. Perkins. The attendants consisted for the 
most part of Indian youths and children of the mission 
school, many of whom declared their desire to give their 
hearts to God. 

Most of the pupils were converted before the series 
of services were closed. Many adults, white people and 
Indians, were also converted, and a great moral uplift 
was given to the settlement. 

Two men, formerly friends, but now deadly enemies, 
attended this meeting. Each of these mountaineers had 
sworn to take the life of the other. One of them was 
converted at the meetings. A mutual friend of these 
men had also been converted. He sought and secured 
the attendance of the third man in the case. He came 
and seated himself in a distant part of the room, among 
a motley group of whites, half-castes, Hawaiians, and 
Indians. He seemed to be troubled. Did it mean for- 
giveness for his foe, or revenge ? Who could tell ? Pres- 
ently he dropped upon his knees and began to pray. 
The missionaries pointed him to Christ, the Savior of 

Digitized by 




Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 48 

men. An hour passed. When he arose, his late enemy 
was standing but a few feet away. The assembly was 
hushed into silence. As their eyes met, with tears and 
shouts they embraced each other and besought pardon 
for the wrongs they had inflicted the one upon the other. 

The Prince of Peace had changed their will 
And bade their troubled hearts be still. 

Thus by the kindly efforts of the missionaries and 
the blessed influence of the Gospel in transforming the 
lives of men, these mountaineers were saved from the 
destructive effects of their own misdeeds. 

We give a brief extract from a letter received by 
Mr. Lee at a little later date : 

Wilamet, January 12, 1841. 
D*ak Ms. L&: 

Having so far recovered my strength as to be able to ride 
to this place, ... I arrived in the same state of feeling as 
when you visited me. My mind was full of enmity against 
God and man. 

The world appeared to me a vast desert in which was 
nothing desirable. Life seemed a curse, and I had no hope 
beyond it. Although weary of skepticism, I felt no disposition 
to believe in God, or in His Word. . . . But through His 
mercy and the prayer of friends, my mind became powerfully 
exercised, and unbelief began to give way. I made an effort 
to believe in God. I called on His name, and soon found 
peace and love to Him and to all mankind, which I had never 
known before. Thank God through our Lord Jesus Christ for 
His mercy to sinners, of whom I am chief! 

Yours truly, Robert Shortess. 1 

S The statement of Jason Lee made in his report to the Missionary Board, as 
given elsewhere in these pages, touching the moral transformation that had taken 
place in Oregon, is abundantly corroborated by these and other facts of a kindred 
nature stated in this book. 

Digitized by 


44 The Conquerors 

A Great Work, Involving a Large Expenditure of 

The undertaking and the plans outlined for mis- 
sionary work in Oregon were extraordinary. It re- 
quired a mighty faith at that period to project an en- 
terprise of such immense proportions, that embraced so 
many difficulties, and that demanded so large an expendi- 
ture of money. 

Dr. Nathan Bangs, the corresponding secretary of 
the Missionary Society, said: 

The projection of this important mission had a most happy 
effect upon the missionary cause generally, as the funds of the 
society up to this time had not exceeded $i8,coo a year; and, 
as this mission must necessarily cost considerable, with a view 
to augment the pecuniary resources of the society, a loud call 
was made through the Christian Advocate and Journal to the 
friends of missions to come to our help in this emergency. 

The Messrs. Lee were instructed to travel as extensively as 
possible, hold missionary meetings, and take collections. 

The Flathead Mission, as it was called, possessed a charm 
around which clustered the warm affections of the friends of 
this great missionary enterprise, and special donations for the 
"Flatheads" were sent to the treasury with cheering liberality 
and avidity. 

Dr. H. K. Hines says of this statement of Dr. Bangs's : 

If this was true of the inception of the mission in 1834, 
it was true in a much larger sense in the great expansion of the 
work in 1839. So rapidly had it grown and so completely had it 
been fixed in the public mind, that it came to have the character 
of a national propagandism on the shores of the Pacific, as well 
as that of a religious evangelism among the Indians. 

That the public sentiment of the Methodists and of 
the people of the United States heartily approved of 
the action of the Missionary Society in establishing a 
mission in Oregon; that they felt a deep and abiding 

Digitized by 




Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 45 

interest in the work of Jason Lee and in the presenta- 
tion he made of the financial claims of his work; that 
they gave him enthusiastic support in his efforts to make 
his great missionary enterprise a success, is evident from 
the following facts: 

Not only did the people in large numbers attend 
upon his ministrations in the Churches whither he went, 
but the prompt response they made to his appeals for 
financial help was unprecedented in its liberality. 

In 1883, $17,097 were raised to sustain the missionary 
operations of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 

In 1834, under the inspiration given to the missionary 
movement in behalf of Oregon, and as the result of the 
work of Rev. Jason Lee, $35,700 were raised — more than 
double the amount of the preceding missionary year. 

In 1840, the receipts of the Missionary Society were 

The Cost o* Founding and Sustaining the American 
Missionary Colony. 

The money expended by the Missionary Society in 
establishing the mission work of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church in Oregon from 1834 to 1844, as given in the 
records of the Missionary Society in New York, was 
$173,365 for that period, and for that purpose this sum 
was one of colossal proportions. 

The raising of this money was made possible by 
the strong and convincing missionary appeals and the 
eloquent descriptions of Oregon made by Jason Lee. 

The use of these funds enabled missionaries to come 
to Oregon in large numbers. By it their transportation 
was secured, their equipment provided for, their food 
supplies purchased, and the American settlement estab- 

Digitized by 


46 The Conquerors 

lished and furnished with facilities for maintaining an 
independent American colony. 

It is a remarkable fact, and no doubt providential, 
that Jason Lee obtained access to the hearts of the mem- 
bership of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United 
States to such an extent that he was enabled to raise 
large amounts of money with which to inaugurate and 
equip his great missionary enterprise, and closely inter- 
woven with this fact is another of equal importance; 
by the payment of this money, and the information and 
the conviction that had prompted the gifts, the donors 
were linked in bonds of interest and friendship to Oregon 
and the mission that their money, their prayers, and 
their efforts had helped to establish. Thus Mr. Lee, 
by his addresses and the publication of facts incident 
to his work, was creating public interest in behalf of 
Oregon that was of inestimable value in securing an 
American solution of the Oregon question. 

To be added to this in the cost of maintaining the 
mission was had in the products of the farm and in the 
increase and use of the stock. 

To be added to this in the cost of maintaining the 
American mission settlement, was the money put into it 
by the settlers who were not missionaries. While it 
is true that in many cases the early emigrants were 
moneyless, having exhausted their means in coming to 
the coast, and were assisted by the missionaries in estab- 
lishing their home life in Oregon, it is also true that 
many of them had a limited amount of money ; they had 
sold their farms, stock, and farming utensils, and used 
this in erecting houses and barns, and providing for their 
wants in such way as their means would allow and the 
primitive conditions of the country would permit. 

Zion's Herald, issue of January 18, 1837, contains 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 47 

an account of a great missionary meeting held in McBen- 
nett Street Church, Boston, on the eve of the departure 
of a small reinforcement to Jason Lee's American mis- 
sionary settlement in Oregon. Revs. David Leslie and 
H. K. W. Perkins and Miss Margaret Smith addressed 
the meeting. Collection, $95. At Lynn, $50. 

June 14, 1837, is published a letter from Jason Lee, 
and July 19th a letter from Cyrus Shepard. August 
2d contains an interesting article on the Oregon mission. 
November 27th has a long letter from Jason Lee, em- 
bracing two columns. It gives an account of the work, 
situation, and description of the country, needs of the 
mission, etc. 

Issue of December 27, 1837, contains a letter from 
Rev. David Leslie, in which he tells of their safe ar- 
rival at Honolulu and of the many kindnesses shown 
them by the missionaries of the American Board sta- 
tioned in the Hawaiian Islands. 

Mr. Lee Forms a Cattle Company. 

A meeting was called at the Methodist Mission for 
this purpose January 13, 1837. Mr. Lee furnished a draft 
for $500. 

Dr. McLoughlin gave valuable assistance to the move- 
ment and took shares in the stock. The men went down 
the coast in the brig Loriot. Eight hundred head of 
Mexican cattle were bought, at from $3 to $5 a head, 
and sixteen horses. About one hundred cattle were lost 
on the route from Mexico (California) to Oregon. 

Mr. P. L. Edwards and Mr. Ewing Young had 
charge of the expedition. 

The mountains, the absence of roads, the great dis- 
tance, the attacks of Indians, the lack of facilities for 
their own protection, and the protection and care of 

Digitized by 


48 The Conquerors 

their cattle, made their work one of great hardship and 
peril. The wonder is that, with the several desultory 
attacks made upon them by the Indians, they escaped 
with their lives. The success of this expedition was 
an important milestone on the road to American su- 
premacy in Oregon. 

The Christian Advocate, June 9, 1837, has a letter 
from Jason Lee, dated January 10th: 

Went to the lower part of our settlement to meet Wm. A. 
Slacum, an officer in the United States Navy, and Government 
agent I went with him to the houses of all the settlers, and 
introduced him at the Mission House. He expressed great 
astonishment at what had been done in the settlement in an 
agricultural line, and the progress the children had made in 
speaking and reading English. 

The settlers have no neat cattle of their own, and the 
Hudson Bay Company refuses to sell. They have loaned us 
cows for milk, but to eat a piece of beef is out of the question. 
We are heartily tired of this state of things, and as it is not 
a difficult thing to bring cattle from California, we have resolved 
to form ourselves into a joint stock concern to effect our 
object. Our reason for embarking in this enterprise is . . . 

It is impossible to carry on an establishment of this kind 
successfully without cattle. . . . 

The party, consisting of eleven whites and two or three 
Indians, availed themselves of the kind offer of Mr. Slacum and 
will sail to-morrow on the Loriot, free of expense. . . . 

Mr. Slacum takes great interest in our mission. . . . 

The same issue contains a copy of "articles of 
agreement entered into this 13th day of January, in the 
year of our Lord 1837," * or the formation of the "Oregon 
Cattle Company ;" a list of the names of the subscribers, 
with amount of stock taken, follows. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 49 

When Mr. Lee came to Oregon in 1834, he and his 
party drove a number of cows and horses as far as 
Walla Walla. These were the first cattle brought across 
the Rocky Mountains. He exchanged them with the 
Hudson Bay Company at Walla Walla, the understand- 
ing being that the same number should be returned to 
him when he should establish his mission in the Wil- 
lamette Valley, or elsewhere west of the Cascade Moun- 

Accordingly, Dr. McLoughlin, at Vancouver, supplied 
Mr. Lee with eight cows, and sent his men to assist in 
driving them to the mission station near Salem; these 
were the first cattle and horses owned and used in the 
American settlement in Oregon. 

But this provision met the demand of the case for 
a short period only. Within two years thereafter they 
desired to enlarge their herd. The prairies of the Wil- 
lamette Valley, embracing an area of many thousands 
of acres, were covered with natural grasses. Cattle and 
horses relished it and soon became sleek and fat from 
eating it. As a food for stock it was of much greater 
value than any of the domestic grasses of the present 

These native grasses have disappeared ; like the wolves 
and the foxes, they could not stand the effect of civili- 

Facts that Indicate the Great Influence of Jason 

Lee in Laying the Foundations of Empire 


Prominent among the many incidents that pointed to 
the mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church as the 
center of American influence in Oregon, and to Jason 

Digitized by 


50 The Conqueror* 

Lee as its representative, is the case of Mr. William A. 
Slacum, just referred to. 

He came up the coast in the brig Loriot. The vessel 
anchored at the mouth of the Willamette. He spent 
most of his time at the mission. He called on the people, 
took notes of their number and of the products of their 
lands and of the conditions that prevailed. He did all 
he could to encourage the settlers and to strengthen 
American sentiment in the country. 

Mr. Lee accompanied him and assisted him in mak- 
ing the investigation that had occasioned his visit, and 
placed in his hand a petition with a request from the 
mission settlement, urging that the Government of the 
United States extend protection over them. On the oc- 
casion of their last interview, he gave Mr. Lee a letter, 
from which we give a brief extract: 

American Bug I/xkiot, ore the Wolamot*, 

January 18, 1837. 
Rev. Jason Lee. 

My Dear Sir, — It was indeed a cause of regret that I 
could continue no longer at your mission on the banks of the 
Willamette, for the visit was to me one of exceedingly great 
interest . . . 

As evidence of my good-will toward the laudable efforts you 
are making in this remote quarter, debarred of almost every 
comfort, deprived of the association of kindred and home, I 
beg you to accept herewith the sum of fifty dollars, only re- 
gretting that my means at present will not allow me to add 
more. I pray you to accept my assurance of unfeigned regard 
Your friend and obedient servant, 

Wm. A. Slacum, U. S. N. 

Upon his return to Washington he made an exhaustive 
report. He also presented the memorial or petition en- 
trusted to his care, and urged attention to the request 
embraced in it. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 51 

The objective point in Mr. Slacum's official journey 
was the Methodist Mission in Oregon, and the roan with 
whom he was to communicate was Jason Lee; and the 
purpose of the Government in sending him to the Pacific 
coast was to ascertain the conditions that prevailed in 
the missionary colony. This action was a recognition 
of the fact that this American settlement was the basis 
and controlling factor in establishing and maintaining 
the American claim to the ownership of the Oregon 

Note the following facts : 

1st Mr. Slacum came direct to the missionary settle- 

2d. He made examinations in line with his instruc- 

3d. He conferred with Jason Lee. 

4th. He gave valuable assistance in securing cattle 
for the mission, and immediately thereafter left for Wash- 

5th. That this, and this only, was the object of his 
coming is clearly indicated in his report to the Govern- 
ment, extracts from which may be found elsewhere in 
these pages. 

6th. The facts in the case show that upon the growth 
of the settlement and the success of the colonization 
features of the mission work hinged the American solu- 
tion of the Oregon question. 

Dr. John McLoughlin often gave expression to his 
esteem for Mr. Lee and appreciation for his work, as 
the following note will indicate : 

Fort Vancouver, March 1, 1836. 
R*v. Jason Lee. 

Dear Sir, — I do myself the pleasure to hand you the en- 
closed subscription, which the gentlemen who have signed it 

Digitized by 


52 The Conquerors 

request you will do them the favor to accept for the benefit of the 
mission. And they pray our Heavenly Father, without whose 
assistance we can do nothing, that of His infinite mercy He will 
bless and prosper your pious endeavors, and believe me to be, 
with esteem and regard, your sincere well-wisher and humble 
servant, John McLoughlin. 

The amount enclosed was $150. 

Another incident that indicated the confidence reposed 
in Jason Lee by all classes of men was the case of Capt. 
T. McKay, a prominent leader among the mountaineer 
trappers and traders of that period. 

Mr. Lee accompanied him and his men from Fort 
Hall to the coast in 1834. They became personal friends. 
Mr. Lee visited him at his home on the west side of the 
Willamette River, below the point now occupied by the 
city of Portland. 

When Mr. Lee went East in 1838, at the request of 
Captain McKay, he took three of the captain's sons with 
him and placed them in school at Wilbraham, Mass., 
where he (Mr. Lee) had been educated. 

Mr. Lee secured the consent of the Missionary So- 
ciety of the Methodist Episcopal Church to pay the bills 
for the education of the boys, and became personally 
responsible in behalf of Mr. McKay for the return of 
the money at a subsequent period. 

Most of the meetings held for the purpose of inaugu- 
rating plans for strengthening the American colony; 
the formation of the cattle company herein referred to, 
and action looking to the enlargement of the settlement 
and increasing its facilities for the maintenance of a 
healthful existence, were held under the personal super- 
vision of Jason Lee, and for the most part at the Mission 
House or at his residence. 

Another event that taught the same lesson was this: 

Two men, Messrs. Young and Carmichael, were about 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Cowntry 58 

to begin the manufacture of ardent spirits. They had 
purchased the machinery, made all the necessary arrange- 
ments, and were going forward with the work of estab- 
lishing their plant. To have done this would have meant : 

1st. The destruction of the mission and the probable 
death of the missionaries. 

2d. Ruin and death swift and certain to the Indians. 

3d. The closing of the mission would not only have 
destroyed the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
in Oregon, but it would have extinguished the only pos- 
sible opportunity, so far as the conditions that then 
prevailed were concerned, of bringing this Pacific coast 
country under American control and saving it from the 
dominance of the Hudson Bay Company. 

Mr. Lee and his helpers threw themselves, with all 
the energy and enthusiasm of which they were capable, 
into the effort to break up this distillery. 

They waited upon the two would-be business men of 
that day. The men stated that, being Americans, they 
desired to free themselves from the dominance of the 
Hudson Bay Company and that this was one of the ways 
by which the Americans could assert their independence 
and throw off the control of the foreign company. 

Mr. Lee reminded them that their action was con- 
trary to the laws of the United States; that the lives 
of the people would be endangered thereby; that peace 
and order would be impossible under the conditions that 
would prevail; that riot, ruin, and death would come to 
the Indians and the American community that the mis- 
sionaries were seeking to establish, and that their action 
was the surest and most effective method that it was 
possible to adopt to make the dominance of the Hudson 
Bay Company in Oregon certain and perpetual. 

Mr. Lee promised to give them the amount they had 

Digitized by 


54 The Conquerors 

paid. They abandoned the business altogether, however, 
and refused to accept any return for the money expended. 

It is perhaps true that there was no one in the country 
at that time whose efforts and influence could have 
averted this threatened danger except Jason Lee. 

The Christian Advocate and Journal of June 9, 1837, 
contains a letter from Mr. P. L. Edwards, in which he 
gives a very interesting account of this temperance move- 

A letter from Dr. Elijah White is published in issue 
of July 7, 1837, of the Christian Advocate and Journal. 
A brief excerpt must suffice: ". . . The plan of op- 
eration adopted by Mr. Lee is here universally consid- 
ered to be founded in wisdom, and they think can not 
fail to result in affecting a greater amount of good than 
any other could have done. . . ."* 

The following paragraphs are from a letter written 
by Jason Lee to the corresponding secretary of the Mis- 
sionary Society: 

R*v. and D*ai Sot: 

My last was dated January, 1837, and forwarded by William 
A. Slacum, Esq., of the United States Navy, and Government 
agent sent to examine this mission settlement . . . Thank 
God, I do not wish to exchange my field of labor for any other 
upon the face of the earth! Hither I firmly believe God has 
directed my steps. . . . 

At the special request of Dr. McLoughlin, I am about to 
send him a note of introduction to you. Would it not be well 
to present him with a certificate of life membership in our 
Missionary Society? 

8 The masterful influence of Jason Lee in securing American control in the 
Pacific Coast Country is seen in the mighty volume of popular favor with which 
his plea in behalf of Oregon was received by the American people. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 55 

We have been obliged to draw frequently upon him for 
medicine, for which he refuses to take any remuneration. ... 

I mentioned in my last that I was fully convinced that this 
country would be settled at no distant period. . . . 

Mission House, Willamette, March 28, 1837. 

Marriage, Baptism, and Organization ox Methodist 
Episcopai, Church in Oregon. 

Sunday, July 16, 1837, was *& epoch-making day 
in the history of the mission and of Oregon. The mis- 
sionaries, with their families and a few others, together 
with a goodly number of Indians, met in a grove on 
the mission grounds in the Willamette Valley for public 
worship. Jason Lee announced the hymn, "When all 
Thy mercies, O my God, my rising soul surveys/' etc; 
after singing, he led in prayer, following which he led 
Miss Anna M. Pittman to the altar, and they were mar- 
ried by Rev. Daniel Lee. Cyrus Shepard then led Miss 
Susan Downing forward, and they were married by 
Jason Lee, after which, Charles Row and Miss Nancy, 
an Indian maiden, were married. 

Jason Lee preached from Numbers x, 29, "Come thou 
with us and we will do thee good, for the Lord hath 
spoken good concerning Israel/ 9 The sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper was then administered. These acts were 
the first of their kind in Oregon. 

The exercises closed with a love-feast; and, in addi- 
tion to the testimony given by every member of the 
Methodist Church present, several of the French Canad- 
ians (Catholics) spoke, and penitently expressed their 

Digitized by 


56 The Conquerors 

intention to turn away from their sins and live Christian 

Mr. Lee said of this service, "I have seldom known 
the presence of the Lord to be more sensibly and power- 
fully manifested." 

Dr. H. K. Hines says: 

Around the outskirts of the audience were the Indian men 
and the daughters of the forest, with scarlet shawls about their 
shoulders, and with beaded leggings and moccasins. The 
Canadian Frenchmen of the settlement, with their Indian wives 
and half-caste children, in decent attire, occupied seats with the 
Americans. The children of the Mission School were there, and 
seven men and five women from the Mission House; also a few 
white men who some chance day had strayed over the mountains, 
or floated in from the sea, prompted by curiosity or led by the 
Good Spirit, found their way to the shaded sanctuary. Few such 
congregations were ever gathered. All were greatly moved ; even 
the furrowed cheeks of the old mountaineers were bathed in 
tears. Among those who were baptized and united with the 
Church at this time were Mr. Charles Row and Mr. Webley 
Hauxhurst, of Long Island, N. Y. The former came to the 
mission settlement January I, 1837; it was the evening of the 
prayer and class meeting. He was invited to be present In a 
letter dated January 13, 1837, he expressed his convictions thus: 
"I am thankful that my business led me week before last to 
your house. I learned more in that week than in thirty-one 
years before. When I saw the Indian children praying and wor- 
shiping God, I thought it was high time for me, who had lived 
so long in sin without once praying for my own soul . . . 
In your class meeting I felt like a person lost forever. . . ." 
Mr. Daniel Lee says: "He was truly alive to his danger. We 
pointed him to Jesus, and ere long he found peace to his 
troubled soul." So far as known, he was the first white person 
converted in the Oregon country. He settled near Salem, and 
was trustee of the Oregon Institute and afterward of the Wil- 
lamette University. For fifty years he lived a devoted Christian 
life and then went up to join the innumerable company of the 
first-born in heaven. 

The eulogies we pay to the old apostleship who carried the 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 57 

Gospel into Macedonia are but the just tribute we should give 
to those who planted the Gospel in Oregon. 

From the American viewpoint they were the prelude 
to the better conditions that would follow them. As the 
Woodmen of Oregon would say, they blazed the way for 
the enlargement of the scope, numbers, and influence of 
the mission, as indicated in the facts given in the next 

Digitized by 


Going East and What Came of It 

That Mr. Lee recognized the great importance of 
making this journey, and the necessity for the immediate 
enlargement of his mission settlement; that his purposes 
and plans respecting it and the work associated with it, 
were thoroughly outlined in his own mind before he 
entered upon their execution, is evident from the facts 
touching the case, and it is also evident in the known 
character of Mr. Lee for care and sagacity in all his 
undertakings. It required a mighty faith, great self- 
denial, and an unusual completeness of personal conse- 
cration to God and His service, to make the journey 
and enter upon the work contemplated in making it. 

Dr. H. K. Hines says: "When it was determined 
that Mr. Lee should visit the Atlantic coast in the in- 
terest of his work, his wife said : 'I will not put myself 
in the way of the performance of your duty. If you feel 
that you should go, go; for I did not marry you to 
hinder but, rather, to aid you in your work/ Under the 
circumstances, braver words were never uttered." 

Mrs. Lee was a woman of fine literary attainments, 
as well as great natural ability and Christian devotion. 
She had a special taste for poetry. Of the noble women 
who came to Oregon before 1840, she was among the 
first in literary and spiritual attainments. Just before 
Mr. Lee left home on the morning of the 25th of March, 
she put into his hands the following lines, tenderly ex- 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 59 

pressive of her love and devotion to God, to her hus- 
band, and to the missionary work in Oregon to which 
she had consecrated her life : 

Must my dear companion leave me, 

Sad and lonely here to dwell? 
If 'tis duty thus that calls thee, 

Shall I keep thee? No— farewell 
Though my heart aches 

As I bid thee thus farewell 

Go, then ,* leave me ; God go with thee 

To protect and save from harm ; 
Though thou dost remove far from me, 

Thou art safe beneath His arm. 
Go in peace, then; 

Let thy soul feel no alarm. 

Go; thy Savior will go with thee, 

All thy footsteps to attend; 
Though you may feel anxious for me, 

Thine and mine He will defend. 
Fear not, husband; 

God, thy Father, is our Friend. 

Go and seek for fellow-laborers; 

Tell them that the field is white. 
God will show them gracious favor 

While they teach the sons of night 
Bid them hasten 

Here to bring the Gospel light 

Though thy journey may seem dreary 
While removed from her you love, 

Though you often may be weary, 
Look for comfort from above. 

God will bless you, 
And your journey prosperous prove. 

Farewell, husband ; while you leave me, 
Tears of sorrow oft will flow; 

Digitized by 


60 The Conquerors 

Day and night I will pray for you, 
While through dangers you may go. 

O, remember 
Her who loves you much. Adieu. 

Anna M. LBE. 

While on his way across the continent, Mrs. Lee died. 
She with her infant son, but a few days old, were buried 
together in Lee Mission cemetery, near Salem, Oregon. 
A marble slab, marked by the storms of more than sixty 
years, stands at the head of the grave, on which is chiseled 
this inscription: 

Beneath this sod, 

The first ever broken in Oregon 

For the reception of a 

White mother and child, 

Lie the remains of 

Anna Maria Potman, 

Wife of 

Rkv. Jason 1x&, 

And her infant son. 

She sailed from New York in July, 1836; 

Landed in Oregon June, 1837; 

Was married July i6\ 1837 ; 

And died 

June 26, 1838, 

Aged 36 years. 

Mrs. Lee was the first American woman to be married 
west of the Rocky Mountains, and she was the first 
American wife and American mother to find sepulcher in 

Dr. H. K. Hines says: 

Mr. Lee reached the Shawnee Mission, near Westport, Mo., 
September 1, 1838. This was a mission of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church among the Indians, and was established in 1829. 
Rev. Thomas Johnson was the agent or superintendent 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 61 

Late at night, after Mr. Lee had retired, a messenger arrived 
and placed in his hand a package of letters. They were from 
Oregon, and one of them bore a black seal He opened it and 
learned that his wife and infant son were dead. To him the 
night was sleepless. In its darkness and loneliness his great 
soul wrestled with self, with sorrow, and with God. In the 
morning his brow had a deeper shade, and his eyes told a tale 
of weeping; but his calmed spirit breathed out its wealth of 
trust and lofty faith in God. 

An Important Memorial. 

Previous to starting upon his perilous journey east- 
ward, the people composing the mission and others met 
and formulated a second memorial to Congress. Its 
description of the country; its needs and possibilities; 
the conditions that prevailed, together with the sugges- 
tions it contained, were timely, patriotic, and wise, and 
had in them the ring of true statesmanship. It is one 
of the most important State papers ever presented to 
Congress from this coast. As seen in the light of the 
present, its statements are especially noteworthy and 
prophetic. We give herewith a large part of this im- 
mortal document. It is worthy of careful perusal. It 
was written by Jason Lee; P. L. Edwards and David 
Leslie assisted in its preparation. It was addressed : 

To the Honorable, the Senate and House of Representatives of 

the United States of America: 

The undersigned settlers of the Columbia River beg leave 
to represent to your honorable body that the settlement begun 
in 1834 has hitherto prospered beyond the most sanguine ex- 
pectations of its projectors. The products of our fields have 
amply justified the most flattering description of the fertility of 
the soil, while the facilities which it affords for raising cattle 
are, perhaps, exceeded by those of no country in North America. 

The people of the United States, we believe, are not gen- 
erally apprised of the extent of valuable country west of the 
Rocky Mountains. A large portion of the territory from the 

Digitized by 


62 The Conquerors 

Columbia River south to the boundary line between the United 
States and the Mexican Republic, and extending from the coast 
of the Pacific for about 250 or joo miles into the interior, is 
either well supplied with timber or adapted to pasturage or 
agriculture. The fertile valleys of the Willamette and the 
Umpqua are varied with prairies and woodlands, and intersected 
by abundant lateral streams, presenting facilities for machinery. 
Perhaps no country of the same latitude is found with the 
climate so mild; the winter rains, it is true, are an objection, 
but they are generally preferred to the snows and the intense 
cold which prevailed in the northern parts of the United States. 

The ground is seldom covered with snow, nor does it 
remain but a few hours. 

We need hardly allude to the commercial advantages of 
the territory. Its happy position for trade with China, India, 
and the western coast of America will be readily recognized 
The growing importance, however, of the islands of the Pacific 
is not so generally known or appreciated. 

As these islands progress in civilization, their demand for 
the produce of more northern climates will increase. Nor can 
any country supply them with beef, flour, etc., on terms so 
advantageous as these. A very successful effort has recently 
been made at the Sandwich Islands in the cultivation of coffee 
and sugar cane. A colony here can easily secure these articles 
and other tropical products in exchange for the products of their 
own labor. We have briefly alluded to the natural resources of 
the country, and to its external relations. They are, in our 
opinion, strong inducements for the Government of the United 
States to take formal and speedy possession. We urge this step 
as promising to the general interests of the Nation. The ad- 
vantages it may confer upon us and the evils it may avert from 
our posterity are incalculable. 

Our special intercourse has thus far been associated with 
reference to a feeling of dependence upon the Hudson Bay 
Company. Under this state of things we have thus far pros- 
pered, but we can not hope that it will continue. The agri- 
cultural and other resources of the country can not fail to induce 
emigration and commerce. 

As our settlement begins to draw its supplies from other 
channels, the feeling of dependence upon the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany will begin to diminish. We are anxious when we imagine 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 68 

what will be, what must be, the condition of so mixed a com- 
munity, free from all legal restraint, and superior to that moral 
influence which has hitherto been the pledge of our safety. 

Our interests are identical with those of the country of 
our adoption. We flatter ourselves that we are the germ of a 
great State, and are anxious to give an early tone to the moral 
and intellectual character of its citizens. We are fully aware, 
too, that the destinies of our posterity will be intimately affected 
by the character of those who emigrate to this country. The 
territory will be populated. The Congress of the United States 
must say by whom. The natural resources of the country, with 
a well adjudged civil code, will invite a good community. But 
a good community will hardly emigrate to a country which 
promises no protection to life and property. Inquiries have 
already been submitted to us for information of the country. 
In return we can only speak of a country highly favored by 
nature. We can boast of no civil code. 

We can promise no protection but the ultimate result of 
self-defense. By whom, then, shall our country be populated? 
By the reckless and unprincipled adventurer, and not by the 
hardy and enterprising pioneer of the West By the Botnay 
Bay refugee; by the renegade of civilization from the Rocky 
Mountains; by the profligate deserted seamen from Polynesia, 
and the unprincipled sharpers from South America. 

We are assured that it will cost the Government of the 
United States more to reduce elements of discord to social 
order than to promote our permanent peace and prosperity by 
a timely action of Congress. Nor can we suppose that so 
vicious a population could be relied upon in case of rupture 
between the United States and any other power. 

Our intercourse with the natives, guided by the same in- 
fluence which has promoted harmony among ourselves, has been 
generally pacific, but the same causes which will interrupt 
harmony among ourselves will also interrupt our friendly rela- 
tions with the natives. 

It is, therefore, of primary importance, both to them and 
ourselves, that the Government should take prompt and ener- 
getic measures to secure the execution of all laws affecting 
Indian trade and intercourse with the white men and Indians. 

We have thus briefly shown that the security of our persons 

Digitized by 


64 TJie Conquerors 

and our property, the hopes and the destinies of our children, are 
involved in the objects of our petition. 

We do not presume to suggest the manner in which the 
country should be occupied by the Government, nor the extent 
to which our settlement should be encouraged. We confide 
in the wisdom of our National Legislators, and leave the sub- 
ject to their candid deliberations, and your petitioners will 
ever pray. J. L. Whitcomb, and Thirty Others. 

A few of Dr. H. IC Hines's observations about this 
important document are as follows : 

This memorial was safely taken to its destination by Mr. 
Lee and presented to the Senate of the United States by Senator 
Linn, of Missouri, January 28, 1830.. 

Within ten days Mr. Linn presented a bill establishing a 
territory north of latitude 42 and west of the Rocky Mountains 
to be called "Oregon Territory," authorizing the erection of a 
fort on the Columbia River, and the occupation of the country 
by the military forces of the United States, establishing a port 
of entry, and requiring that the country should be held subject 
to the revenue laws of the United States, with an appropriation 
of $50,000 for the beginning of the work. 

This action, led by the missionaries of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, and wholly dependent on their influence for its 
effect on Congress and the public mind, occurred when there 
were only two male missionaries of the American Board west 
of the Rocky Mountains, namely, Dr. Marcus Whitman and Rev. 
II. H. Spalding. They were two hundred miles in the interior 
and entirely removed from what little American sentiment and 
settlement there was in the country. 

The Roman Catholic missionaries had not yet reached 

No more important and eminent milestone was ever set 
in Oregon history than was set in this memorial; its second 
paragraph, that relating to trade with China, India, and the 
islands of the Pacific, would seem to have been written under 
prophetic inspiration in 1838 and found its literal and wonder- 
ful fulfillment in 1899. 

Surely there was a marvelous prescience in the minds that 
conceived this masterful memorial. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 65 

Upon reaching the Atlantic coast, Mr. Lee went direct 
to Washington and placed this memorial in the hands of 
the Committee on Foreign Affairs, of which Hon. Caleb 
Cushing was chairman. He then visited New York and 
other points in the interest of his mission work. Fearing 
lest his efforts in behalf of Oregon might not receive 
prompt attention on the part of the officers of the Gov- 
ernment, and having in the meantime received a letter 
of inquiry from Mr. Cushing, he wrote from Middle- 
town, Conn., under date of January 17, 1839. We give 
a part of this important letter: 

It is believed that if the Government of the United States 
takes such measures in respect to this territory as will secure 
the rights of the settlers, most of those who are now attached 
to the mission will remain as permanent settlers in the country, 
after the mission may no longer need their services. Hence it 
may be safely assumed that ours, in connection with other 
settlers there, is the commencement of a permanent settlement 
of the country. 

In view of this, it will be readily seen that we need two 
things at the hands of the Government for our protection and 

First: We need a guarantee from the Government that 
the possession of the land we take up and the improvements 
we make upon it will be assured to us. The settlements will 
greatly increase the value of the Government domain in that 
country, should the Indian title ever be extinguished. We can 
not but expect, therefore, that those who have been pioneers in 
this arduous work will be liberally dealt with in this matter. 

Second: We need the authority and protection of the 
Government and laws of the United States to regulate the 
intercourse of the settlers with each other, protect them against 
the peculations and aggressions of the Indians, and to protect 
the Indians against the aggressions of the white men. 

To secure these objects, it is not supposed that much of a 
military force is necessary. If a suitable person should be sent 
out as a magistrate and governor of the territory, the settlers 
would sustain his authority. In proof of this, it is only neces- 


Digitized by 


66 The Conquerors 

sary to say that almost all the settlers in the Willamette Valley 
have signed a memorial to Congress, praying that body to extend 
the protection of the United States Government over the ter- 
ritory. You are aware, sir, that there is no law in that country 
to protect or control American citizens, and to whom shall we 
look, to whom can we look, for the establishment of wholesome 
laws to regulate our infant and rising settlements, but to the 
Congress of our beloved country? 

The country will be settled, and that speedily, from some 
quarter, and it depends very much on the prompt action of 
Congress what that population shall be, and what shall be the 
fate of the Indian tribes of that territory. It may be thought 
that Oregon is of little importance; but rely upon it, there is 
the germ of a great State. We are resolved to do what we 
can to benefit the country, but we are constrained to throw 
ourselves upon you for protection. 

I am, sir, with great respect, 

Hon. Calsb Cushin& 

Copies of the memorial and the letter herein referred 
to, together with other references to Jason Lee and the 
mission in the Willamette Valley, are found in the Con- 
gressional Records of that period. 

That Mr. Lee's interviews with the President and 
with other officers of the United States Government in 
1834 and 1838, together with the letters and documents 
he had presented, were not in vain; that his eloquent 
pleadings in behalf of the Pacific coast country accom- 
plished its purpose is evidenced in the fact that this 
memorial was acted upon immediately, and a bill for the 
formation of the territory was brought forward without 
delay. Dr. H. K. Hines says: "Such was the impres- 
sion made by Mr. Lee upon the Congress, the President 
and his Cabinet, and such the estimate they placed upon 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 67 

the expedition he was organizing as an instrument in 
Americanizing the Pacific coast, that the Government, 
out of the Secret Service fund, assisted in its outfit." 
Referring to the grant of $475,000 made by Congress 
in behalf of the Lewis and Clark Exposition at Port- 
land, the Pacific Christian Advocate, in its issue of April 
20, 1904, says: 

This is not the first time that the Government has granted 
aid to Oregon by special donation. In 1839 the sum of $5,000 
was given to the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, to aid in sending a shipload of Methodists to Oregon. 
This use of the public funds was justified on the ground that 
the Methodist Church was laying the foundations of State. 
It should not be forgotten that the sailing of the Lausanne 
with a shipload of Methodist missionaries on board was in the 
nature of a colonization scheme, and that for a decade — from 
1834 to 1844— the story of Oregon was mainly the story of 
the Methodist mission. 

Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and a part of Montana are 
in a sense gifts to the Republic by the Missionary Society of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church. That society pioneered the 
peopling of the territory with American settlers. History re- 
cords to the honor of our Church that Jason Lee and his co- 
laborers were first on the ground, and that the missionary 
centers they established became the centers of American senti- 
ment and settlement, and their efforts in securing American 
protection and statehood were crowned with success. 


On the morning of the 31st ult, Mr. Lee arrived, after 
a tedious passage over land of seven months, in the city of 
New York, accompanied by three Indian youths. . . . 

The object of Mr. Lee's visit among us at this time is 
to mature plans for the enlargement and more energetic prose- 
cution of the important mission he has so successfully begun, 
and conducted at the expense of so much labor and sacrifice. — 
From Christian Advocate and Journal, November 9, 1838. 

Digitized by 


68 The Conquerors 

The work outlined by the Missionary Society at this 
time was of inestimable value in its effect in evangelizing 
and Americanizing Oregon. 

From the Christian Advocate and Journal of Decem- 
ber 21, 1838: 


Since the return of Rev. Jason Lee from Oregon, the Board 
of Managers have had various consultations with him respect- 
ing the present state of the mission, its future prospects, and 
the means necessary to prosecute it with vigor and success. 

The whole subject was referred to a committee who had 
several interviews with Brother Lee and others, and agreed upon 
the following report, which was submitted to the Board on 
the 5th inst, and unanimously concurred in: The committee 
to whom was referred the proposed reinforcement of the Oregon 
Mission, after mutual consultation with Brother Lee, have agreed 
to recommend that, in addition to those already connected with 
the mission, measures be taken to increase the establishment there 
by sending out additional help as follows, viz.: Five mission- 
aries, one physician, six mechanics, four farmers, and one mis- 
sionary steward, with their wives, making thirty-two adults, who 
shall be connected with the Oregon Mission under the super- 
intendence of the Rev. Jason Lee. 

It is recommended that educated physicians be selected for 
missionaries as far as possible, and that, in appointing the 
mechanics, as many with their wives as may be found capable 
as school teachers be preferred. 

The committee also agreed to make the following additional 
suggestions, viz.: 

That a saw mill be authorized, together with all necessary 
building materials, tools, and implements. . . . That goods, 
to be selected by Brother Lee, to the amount of $5,000 be sent 
out. That the selection of the laymen, etc, to be sent, be re- 
ferred to the resident Corresponding Secretary and Brother Lee. 

That a female teacher be sent, for the benefit of the children 
of the missionaries — her salary not to be paid by the Board. 

That all persons engaging in this mission shall obligate 
themselves to remain in our service for ten years, unless sooner 
released by the Board or the superintendent of the mission. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 69 

That Brother Lee be deputed forthwith to visit Boston, 
and open negotiations with John N. Barbour, Esq., in relation 
to his proposal for joint ownership of a vessel for passengers 
and freight, and that he report the results to the Board for 
their decision in the premises. . . . 

It was also resolved that Brother Lee be requested to 
build a grist-null at the Willamette Falls, whenever it shall in 
his judgment become necessary for the interests of the mission. 

It is estimated that the outfit, including a half year's salary 
and passage, will cost $30,000. 

This, with other missions we are now pledged to support, 
will require at least $130,000 for this year; $61,000 having been 
already drawn since the first of May last 

The friends of the cause, therefore, will have to be on the 
alert to meet the demand. Past experiences, however, induces 
the firm conviction that there will be no lack of means to 
carry forward this holy work. But a united and persevering 
effort is essential to success. 


To aid the society in furnishing the funds necessary for 
the support of its mission, Brother Lee, while detained in the 
United States, will devote as much of his time as practicable 
in visiting various parts of the country with a view to holding 
missionary meetings and taking collections. 

For this purpose he left this city on the 13th inst for 
Washington City, where he will spend one week. 

On the 22d he will visit Baltimore, and remain there until 
the 31st From January 1 to 7, 1839, he is expected to be 
in Philadelphia and vicinity. 

On the evening of the 10th he has an appointment in 
Morristown, N. J. On the evening of the 15th, in New Haven, 
Conn. The 16th and 17th he will spend at Middletown, and 
the evening of the 18th in Hartford, and the Sabbath following 
in Norwich, Conn. On the evening of the 23d, in Providence, 
R. I. From the 24th to 31st he will spend in Boston and its 

The evening of February 1st he will hold a missionary 
meeting in Newburyport, and on the evening of February 3d 
in Portland, Me. 

Digitized by 


70 The Conquerors 

After this, he will make a tour north, and will hold meet- 
ings in as many places as he may find it convenient ; of the times 
and places for which he will give timely notice himself. 

In respect to the persons wanted to make up the mission 
family, we do not now advertise for any persons to make 
application, as several names are already on our reserve list, 
and those who wish to volunteer their services, either as mis- 
sionaries, farmers, or mechanics, physicians, or teachers, can 
make known their views and feelings to Brother Lee when 
he may visit their neighborhoods. 

We wish to become well acquainted with the persons before 
they are engaged, that we may, as far as possible, guard against 
the employment of incompetent or improper persons. 

It may be well, however, to remark here, that none will 
be accepted but such as have an established character for piety, 
are members of our Church, well recommended for their com- 
petency in the department of labor for which they may be 
engaged, and are clear of debt — the Board having passed a 
resolution that they will not advance money to pay the debts 
of any one they may employ in their service. 

It has already been resolved that the missionary family 
must be sent by water, by the way of the Sandwich Islands; 
and as it will require considerable time to select suitable persons, 
procure the necessary supplies, and provide a convenient passage, 
the probability is that the expedition will not leave until the 
latter part of next summer or autumn. 

Nathan Bangs. 

The foregoing is a verbatim copy of a statement 
or proclamation made by Dr. Bangs, corresponding sec- 
retary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, to the members of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church throughout the United States in particular, and 
to the general public, outlining the provision made by 
the Board of Managers of the Missionary Society for 
the sending of the Great Reinforcement to Oregon. 

A number of important facts vitally related to the 
American conquest of Oregon are involved in this pro- 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 71 

vision, and also in the herculean labors committed to 
Jason Lee in connection therewith. 

ist. This provision was remarkable for its compre- 
hensiveness, for the expense that would be incurred in 
its execution, and for its far-reaching significance, in 
securing an American solution of the Oregon ques- 

2d. The wisdom of this provision and the careful- 
ness with which the recruits to the American missionary 
colony in Oregon were secured is worthy of note. 

They were men of excellent character, and were 
selected for their fitness for the work to which they were 
appointed. They were men of affairs and could 
adapt themselves to the difficult conditions that would 
confront them. 

The wisdom exercised in their selection is evidenced 
in the effectiveness of their work and the success of 
their efforts in establishing American institutions in Ore- 
gon. They were equal to the demands of the case. 

It would have been difficult, perhaps impossible, to 
have found a man more thoroughly equipped for this 
great work than was Jason Lee. 

They could erect churches, and take charge of the 
services within their sacred portals. They could build 
school houses, and supply them with teachers. Their 
capability is evidenced by their success as preachers, 
teachers, physicians, farmers, mechanics, merchants, 
stockmen, traders, salesmen, home builders, patriots, 
statesmen. The settlement and the government they 
founded was a great test and triumph for their skill and 
statesmanship. These were the outgrowth of their wis- 
dom and their toil, and will stand through the centuries 
as a monument to their names and memory. 

Digitized by 


72 The Conquerors 

Dr. H. K. Hines says of these men: 

They were capable of the highest service in State or Church. 
Men worthy to be Presidents and Cabinet Ministers, who only 
lacked the opportunity to become such, drove ox teams from 
the Missouri to the Columbia. Warriors without a command 
walked between the plow-handles in old Marion, Linn, Yamhill, 
and Lane Counties. Senators without the toga blew the fires 
of the forges or plied the rustic industries of village and prairie 
in Clackamas, or Polk, or Multnomah. Bishops without the 
mitres preached sermons fit for metropolitan pulpits, or admin- 
istered missionary cures in log schoolhouses and pioneer cabins. 
Orators and governors pruned fruit trees and planted vineyards 
in rural precincts. They were the best fruit of our splendid 
democracy, which, by placing government in the hands of the 
people, trains men everywhere for highest service.— "Missionary 
History of the Pacific Northwest" 

3d. The touring of the country and the visitation of 
the Churches by Jason Lee was the means by which the 
funds were secured to carry on and strengthen his Amer- 
ican missionary colony in Oregon. 

His success in this effort is evidenced in the large 
amounts of money he raised ; in the American sentiment 
he created and strengthened, and in the encouragement 
he gave to emigration, etc. 1 

Dr. H. K. Hines says: 

Mr. Lee devoted the winter of 1838 and the summer of 1839 
delivering addresses in the cities and towns of the Atlantic States. 
His appeals were irresistible. The fire of his zeal caught on 
the altars of the Church everywhere. The age of apostolic fervor 
seemed to have returned. Poverty and wealth gave its silver 
and its gold. The culture of Boston and New York cast their 
jewels into the treasury. Philadelphia wept and gave, and Balti- 
more outdid her ancient missionary fame. Lee, who had dipped 
his banner in the spray of the Pacific, was the hero of the hour. 

1 For an account of the causes that led to the coming of the emigrants of 
1843-3, see chapter on emigration in this book. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Cotmtry 78 

Large and Enthusiastic Missionary Meetings Were 
Held Throughout the Country and Liberal 

Contributions Were Made. 
The following excerpt is from a letter published in 

the Christian Advocate and Journal, February 15, 1839: 

Washington City, January 29th. 
Dear Bbethken: 

It may be interesting to you to know that the cause of 
missions is not forgotten by the Missionary Society of 
Ebenezer Station. The fourth anniversary of this society was 
held on the 31st day of December. After the usual introductory 
exercises, the meeting was addressed, briefly but very appro- 
priately, by the Hon. C. Morris and the Hon. P. G. Goode, 
members of the House of Rrepresentatives. They were followed 
by Rev. Jason Lee with an address of some length. Next came 
William Brooks, an Indian youth, who made his first speech 
in English. His tears spoke with resistless eloquence. . . . 

Deep attention and solemnity marked the exercises through- 

The financial results of the meeting were $103, to which are 
to be added the proceeds of the sale of some jewelry. . . . 
Respectfully yours, B. N. Brown.* 

S William Brooks bad, previous to this date, spoken in his own language, and 
Mr. Lee acted as his interpreter. He was one of the Indian young men who ac- 
companied Mr. Lee in his tour among the Churches of the country in 1838-9, and 
on account of whose illness Mr. Lee was detained in Illinois, and was thus enabled 
to give sufficient time and attention to his work in that region to make his emigra- 
tion movement a great success. He was quite a wit. 

On one occasion before a large audience he said: "The Indians of Oregon 
must have agreement in writing that white man do not sell whisky to Indians; 
white man make it, and white man must drink it." After a moment's pause, with 
a kind of quizical air he said, "O, these Yankies !" He took his seat amid a storm 
of applause. On another occasion a lady questioned William about the process by 
which the Indian flattened the head, and criticised the custom quite severely, to 
which the young man replied : "All people have fashions. Chinamen make little 
the foot, Indian make flat the head. You (looking at her waist and putting his 
hands on his own) make little here." William seems to have had a very slender 
constitution. He died after a brief illness, and was buried from Bedford Street 
Methodist Episcopal Church, New York City. A short time before his death he 
said, M I want to go home." " To your home in Oregon," asked Mr. Lee. "No, 
to my home in heaven," replied the dying young man. 

Digitized by 


74 The Conquerors 

Mr. Lee held a meeting in behalf of his mission 
work in Oregon, at Bridgeport, Conn., of which he 
writes to the Christian Advocate and Journal as follows : 

December 7, 1838. 

Messrs. Editors, — I made an appeal here in behalf of our 
mission work in Oregon. The people responded nobly. . . • 

The liberality of the people of Bridgeport surpassed anything 
I have seen this side of the Rocky Mountains. . . . 

In Oregon, at our first missionary meeting, we averaged 
more than seven dollars for each man in the settlement I think 
if you were to search the annals of missionary history, you 
could not find a parallel. . . . 

Christian Advocate and Journal, December 21, 1838: 

Brooklyn, December 10, 1838. 
Last night we held a highly interesting missionary meeting; 
in some respects it surpassed any I ever attended. Brother Lee, 
superintendent of the Oregon Mission, gave some interesting 
and affecting details of his work; his word was in the demon- 
stration of the Spirit and with power. I am persuaded that 
the effects of this meeting will be manifest long after the cir- 
cumstances which produced them shall be obliterated from the 
mind. A collection of $170 was taken. 

Yours, etc, J. L. Gilder. 

In the same issue: „ XT ~ 

HnxsBORO, N. C. 

Since my appointment to Oregon, I have been doing a little 

to aid the society's funds. Collection, $204.12. 

W. W. Kone. 

The Christian Advocate and Journal of July 5, 1839, 
contains a letter from Jason Lee, dated New York, June 
28th. He says : 

Contrary to my expectations when I reached this country, 
Providence opened the way for me to remain and travel ex- 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 75 

tensively, and urge the claims of the Oregon Mission. I am 
persuaded that the receipts of the Missionary Society will suffer 
no diminution from my poor services. That the blessings of 
many thousands who are ready to perish may be upon you, 
is the fervent prayer of your friend and co-laborer in the Gospel. 

Christian Advocate and Journal, July 12, 1839: 

West Troy, New York. After a visit from Rev. Jason Lee- 
collection, $106.15. 

Through the Eastern, the Middle, the Southern, and 
the Western States, great interest was awakened in be- 
half of the work of Jason Lee in Oregon. His eloquent 
appeals won the attention and the hearts of the people, 
and multitudes crowded the churches to hear him. 

The Oregon Mission was the most expensive mis- 
sionary enterprise that the Methodist Episcopal Church 
had inaugurated. In this respect it was unparalleled 
in the history of the missionary movements of that or 
any previous period; yet such was the effect of the elo- 
quent appeals of Jason Lee in his tours throughout the 
country, that the money with which to begin and carry 
on this work was easily secured. 

His success in raising funds, in awakening enthusiasm 
in behalf of Oregon, and in securing large and timely 
reinforcements to his American colony, was the provi- 
dential, the effective, and the determining element in ob- 
taining the American occupancy and control of the Ore- 
gon country. 

The Oregon Mission was born in the light and the 
warmth of the great missionary fires kindled by Jason 
Lee, and American institutions in Oregon had their in- 

Digitized by 


76 The Conquerors 

spiration and their birth in the reflex influence of the 
fires that he kindled upon the altars of the Methodist 
Episcopal Churches throughout the United States. 

The missionary movements of Christendom were 
strengthened and accelerated by his great success. For 
his own Church he set the pace for liberal giving and 
successful work in raising money for the cause of mis- 
sions. From that time until now, the offerings of our 
people have continued to increase until, for the year 
ending October 31, 1906, the receipts of the Parent So- 
ciety amounted to $2,071,648.28. 

An Important Announcement. 

The following excerpts from the Twentieth Annual 
Report of the Board of Managers of the Missionary So- 
ciety in regard to the Oregon Mission were published 
in the Christian Advocate and Journal, July 5, 1839: 

From the advantages of the location of the territory, the 
salubrity of its climate, the richness of its soil, it may be pre- 
sumed that the country will be filled with white inhabitants 
at no distant day. • • . 

It is therefore highly important that the best interests 
of all be secured and that the institutions of Christianity be 
early established there, that the settlements may be saved from 
the contaminating influences of vicious indulgences. . . . 

It has been determined to send out a reinforcement . . . 
together with those farming and mechanical utensils necessary 
to carry on the respective trades and occupations, as well as 
a large quantity of goods composed of such articles as are 
necessary to supply the mission. . . . 

Though this outfit will be very expensive, and for a time 
it will require much to keep the mission in operation, yet, if 
success crowns our efforts, the expenditure to the Missionary 
Society will be diminished by the cultivation of farms, etc 
And this mode of conducting the mission is considered essential 
to its successful operation. . . • 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country Tl 

A large farm has been brought under cultivation and is 
well stocked with cattle, etc., by which provision is made for the 
support of the mission. . . . 

Zion's Herald, from April, 1838, to December 31, 
1843, gives many facts of great historical importance 
about Jason Lee and his work. 

In issue of April 11, 1838, is published a letter 
written by Miss Margaret Smith, descriptive of the work 
of the mission and of the Oregon country. 

Issue of October 17, 1838, contains an editorial, from 
which we give a few excerpts : 


We have long looked with peculiar interest upon this terri- 
tory and have fancied that we could see in the lofty battlements 
of the Rocky Mountains, in the shores of the great ocean of the 
West, in the snows of the North, and the vast plains of the 
South the bounds of a great empire— yet to be. With a climate 
in which health is a common blessing, a soil on which vegetation 
assumes its most luxuriant forms, a coast indented with harbors, 
and a back country teeming with all the gifts of nature, with 
rivers throughout its whole extent affording an opportunity for 
hundreds of miles of inland navigation, furnish a situation which 
for trade and commerce is unrivaled. With these and other 
advantages, it can not fail to entice the steps of the emigrant, 
and to afford a most delightful home for him. We hazard 
nothing in saying that the time for the realization of Jefferson's 
wish can not be far distant, when the whole length of that 
coast shall be inhabited with free and independent Americans. 
. . . Entertaining these views, we have been pleased to learn 
that a society has been formed, the object of which is to prepare 
the way for the settlement of that country on the principles 
of Christianity, which will secure the virtue and happiness of 
the emigrants and the civilization and salvation of the aborigines. 
We learn that the society intends publishing a monthly journal, 
in which they will embody all the facts which can be collected 
respecting that territory. For the society and for the paper 
we bespeak the patronage of our friends. Further information 

Digitized by 


78 The Conquerors 

can be obtained by application to Rev. F. P. Tracy, secretary 
of the society.' 

Issue of December 19, 1838, gives an account of a 
great missionary meeting held at Wilbraham, Mass. The 
writer says: 

Brother Lee, accompanied by three Indian youths from 
west of the Rocky Mountains, visited us and spent the Sabbath 
of the 25th of November in this place. At six o'clock in the 
evening he held a great missionary meeting. The exercises 
began with singing by the Indians. After prayer, Brother Lee 
addressed the audience for over an hour in a manner and spirit 
showing that his whole soul was in his work. Every heart was 
deeply affected. He gave an account of his labors, privations, 
and sufferings; of the good accomplished by the missionaries, 
and of the great importance of the work in Oregon. 

It would be fruitless to attempt a description of the address. 
To have a correct idea of his power and of the great interest 
he arouses in behalf of his Oregon Mission, he must be seen 
and heard. I think I never attended a meeting of greater in- 
terest, and never saw a nobler specimen and example of what 
a missionary should be. The collection was one hundred and 
twenty dollars. Twenty dollars were given to constitute Rev. 
Mr. Bowns, the Congregational minister of the place, a life 
member of the Parent Society. . . . 

We think the impulse given by Mr. Lee to the cause of 
missions in the Churches of the country will increase until the 
end of time. Two of the Indian boys remain at the academy, 
having been sent out by their father to be educated. . . .* 

8 Mrs. Clara D. Worth, an assistant on the staff of Zion't Htrald, No. 36 
Bromfield Street, Boston, who examined the files of that paper, says, "Jason Lee 
was present at a meeting of this society on the occasion of one of his visits to 
that city." 

4 This was a great meeting, and the occasion was one of unusual interest. It 
seemed as if a little section of heaven was let down among the people. Mr. Lee 
was at his best. His auditors embraced the faculty of the college, his schoolmates, 
his personal friends, and a large number of the adult population of the town and of 
the country in the vicinity of Wilbraham. His address created intense enthusiasm. 
The convictions, purposes, and sentiments respecting Oregon that had their birth 
in this and in similar large gatherings of the people throughout the country gave 
life, power, and success to the American cause on the Pacific Coast, and made the 
Oregon of to-day possible and certain. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 79 

In same issue, December 19, 1838, is a communica- 
tion from Jason Lee to the secretary of the Missionary 
Society, under the caption, "Missionary Intelligence." 
He gives an account of places visited and amount of 
cash collections taken in a short period immediately pre- 
ceding the mailing of his letter. Unpaid pledges are 
not embraced in these amounts. Had these been in- 
cluded, the aggregate would have been greatly increased : 
"Alton, 111., Baptist Church, $50; St. Louis, $57; Carlin- 
ville, $7.86; Springfield, $33.12; Peoria, $22.75; Chi- 
cago, $40.35; Detroit, $30; Utica, $172; Fairfield, 

Issue of February 6, 1839, contains an account of 
a great missionary meeting held in Bromfield Street 
Church, Boston. Address by Jason Lee, in which he 
gives an outline of his work in behalf of Oregon, from 
the beginning, in 1833, to the date of that meeting. "His 
address occupied two and a half columns. It was one 
of great eloquence and power, and created intense en- 

Issue of February 20, 1839: "Missionary meetings 
held at Lowell; collection, $100; Portsmouth, N. H., 
$63 ; Portland, Me., $200." 

Issue of February 27th: "Meetings held and collec- 
tions taken at Haverhill, $50 ; Newburyport, $100. 

Issue of the same date gives an account of a large 
and enthusiastic missionary meeting held in Philadelphia, 
December 4, 1838 : "Addresses were made by Rev. Jason 
Lee and William Brooks. Hon. William A. Slacum, of 
the United States Navy, employed by the Government 
to make inquiries and investigations into the political, 
statistical, and geographical conditions of Oregon, was 
also present and addressed the meeting." 

Digitized by 


80 The Conquerors 

We give the following extracts from his address : 

I called upon Dr. McLoughlin at Fort Vancouver, who told 
me that the fact was fairly established that the Western Indians 
were willing to receive instruction. ... I visited the mis- 
sion, embarking with my servant and six Indians. I soon 
entered the Willamette or Multnomah, which flows into the 
Columbia about eighty miles from its mouth. . . . 

It is now nearly two years since I was greeted by the 
friendly voice of Jason Lee, who called to me from the shore 
to direct me where to land, for the current was rapid and the 
night was dark and chill. ... I have seen Jason Lee at his 
post, imparting mental and physical instruction to those who 
slumbered in the profoundest ignorance of God's command- 
ments. I have seen him rearing the temple of God in the 
wilderness. I have seen him administering the consolation of 
our holy religion to those who were without a pastor and of a 
different faith. I have seen him, too, arresting one of the 
greatest evils to which the white men and the red men are 
subject and establishing a temperance society among those who 
are proverbially beyond the pale of moral restraint — I mean 
the trappers west of the Rocky Mountains. ... He bore 
their revilings with the true courage of a Christian minister. 
At length these very men became convinced of \he purity and 
integrity of his character. . . . 

Mr. Slacum read extracts from an official report he 
had previously made to Congress. 5 
The extracts he read are as follows : 

The Rev. Jason Lee, missionary of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, came eighteen miles to meet me. In company with 
him, I called on all the settlers in the lower settlement, and 
next day visited the Mission House and the upper settlement 
No language of mine can convey any adequate idea of the great 
benefit those worthy and most excellent men, the Messrs. Jason 
and Daniel Lee and Messrs. Shepard and Edwards, and their 
assistants, have conferred upon this part of the country, not 
by precept only, but by example, as the result of their labors 

* Thousands of copies of this report were printed by order of Congress for 
circulation among the people. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 81 

He then described the mission buildings, the work 
accomplished by the missionaries and by the Indian boys ; 
the quality of the land, the desirableness of the country, 
and gave the number of the families and of the people 
in the settlement. 

In conclusion, I will only add that the day that witnessed 
Jason Lee's descent from the Rocky Mountains was a day of 
gladness and joy, and it will be for you, my friends, to assist 
in perpetuating the glorious work in which he has periled every- 
thing to give life and light to those who sit in darkness. The 
collection was $560. 

These facts afford conclusive proof that the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, through its publications, its 
pulpits, and its membership, and especially through the 
untiring and well-directed labors of its chosen repre- 
sentative and matchless leader, Jason Lee, gave pub- 
licity, enthusiasm, and success to the Oregon movement. 
Jason Lee created conditions that made American su- 
premacy in Oregon certain. 

Issue of March 6, 1839— meeting at Newberry; col- 
lection, $74. The writer says : "The addresses of Brother 
Lee and the Indian were listened to with deep attention, 
and the effect will doubtless be lasting." 

April 24, 1839 — item signed, "S. Kelley:" "Mis- 
sionary cause at Danville, Vt. Meeting addressed by 
Mr. Lee and William Brooks. Collection, $200 cash, 
and many pledges." 

Issue of June 5, 1839, an article is copied from the 
New York Spectator, giving an account of the twentieth 
anniversary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church. The meeting was one of great in- 

Issue of March 4, 1840, gives a few items copied 
from the Richmond Journal, Richmond, Va. It consists 

Digitized by 


82 The Conquerors 

of extracts from the diary of Rev. W. Kone, giving 
information about Oregon. Collections taken, etc. 

Issue of March 23, 1842, publishes a communication 
from the wife of Rev. Jason Lee, dated March 11, 1841. 
It gives an account of the death of Mrs. David Leslie 
and Mr. Cyrus Shepard, and many items of interest 
touching the sickness and death of the Indians, and their 
customs in the case of the illness and death of their 
people. It embraces two columns. This letter was pub- 
lished just three days after the death of the writer. 6 

• That Jason Lee foresaw the necessity for making known the material wealth 
of the Oregon country, and taking the initiative in its development as a factor in 
his great work ; that he recognized the importance of encouraging the educational 
interests of his American settlement and furnishing it with the facilities necessary 
to a healthful growth and the maintenance of a permanent existence along the 
highest and best industrial, intellectual, and moral lines, is evident in the use he 
made of the forces that would contribute to these results, and the prominence he 
gave them in the prosecution of his labors in behalf of Oregon. 

Digitized by 



Jason Lee Opens the Gates for Oregon's 

Ws have referred to the memorial presented to Con- 
gress in 1838 by Rev. Jason Lee, and now ask atten- 
tion to a third document of a kindred sort, written and 
sent to Congress in 1839 by R ev « David Leslie and others, 
and it shows three things very clearly : 

1st. That, from the viewpoint of the missionaries, the 
ultimate control of the Oregon country by the United 
States was a matter of great importance. 

2d. That great difficulties were in the way of secur- 
ing that for which they hoped and prayed and labored. 
These difficulties are outlined in this important document. 

3d. The vigor and persistency with which they pushed 
the American claim for the control of the Oregon country 
is especially noteworthy. 


To the Honorable, the Senate and House of Representatives of 
the United States of America, in Congress assembled: 
Your petitioners represent to your honorable bodies that they 
are residents of Oregon Territory, and citizens of the United 
States, or desirous of becoming such; that they have settled in 
said territory under the belief that it was a portion of the 
domain of the United States, and that they might rely upon the 
Government for the blessings of its institutions and the pro- 
tection of its arms. . . . And your petitioners would repre- 
sent that they have no means of protecting their lives and the 
lives of their families, other than by self-constituted tribunals. 


Digitized by 


84 The Conquerors 

• . . They represent these means of safety to be an in- 
sufficient safeguard of life and property, and that the crimes 
of theft, murder, infanticide, etc., are increasing to an alarm- 
ing extent . . . Your petitioners therefore pray the Congress 
of the United States to establish a territorial government in 

And if other reasons were needed to induce your honorable 
bodies to grant the prayer of the undersigned, they would be 
found in the value of the territory to the Nation and the alarm- 
ing circumstances that portend its loss. 

Your petitioners would represent that the English Govern- 
ment has had a surveying party on the Oregon Coast for two 
years, employed in making accurate surveys of all its bays, 
rivers, and harbors ; and that recently the said Government made 
a grant to the Hudson Bay Company of rights in land lying 
between the Columbia River and Puget Sound, and that the 
said company is actually exercising acts of ownership over said 
lands, etc. And their declaration that the English Government 
owns and will hold that portion of Oregon Territory north of 
the Columbia River, together with the facts that the said com- 
pany are cutting and sawing into lumber and shipping to foreign 
marts vast quantities of the finest pine trees in Oregon, have 
led your petitioners to apprehend that the English Government 
does intend at all events to hold that portion of the territory 
lying north of the Columbia River. 

And your petitioners represent that the said territory north 
of the Columbia River is an invaluable possession to the 
American Union; that the Puget Sound are the only harbors 
of easy access and commodious and safe upon the whole coast 
of the territory. . . . 

Your petitioners would further represent that the country 
south of the Columbia River, and north of the Mexican line, 
is one of unequal ed beauty. The mountains covered with per- 
petual snow, pouring into the prairies below around their bases 
transparent streams of the purest water. The white and black 
oak, pine, cedar, and fir forests that divide the prairies into 
sections convenient for farming purposes; the rich mines of 
coal; the quarries of limestone, chalk, and marble; the salmon 
in the rivers, and the various blessings of the delightful and 
healthy climate are known to us and impress your petitioners 
with the belief that this is one of the most favored portions 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 85 

of the globe. . . . Many other circumstances could be named 
showing the importance of this territory in a national, com- 
mercial, and agricultural sense. 

And, although your petitioners would not undervalue con- 
siderations of this kind, yet they beg especially to call the 
attention of Congress to their own condition as an infant colony, 
without military force or civil institutions to protect our lives 
and property, our children, sanctuaries, and tombs from the 
hands of the uncivilized savages around us. 

We respectfully ask for the civil institutions of the American 
Republic. We pray for the high privilege of American citizen- 
ship, the peaceful enjoyment of life; the right of acquiring, 
possessing, and using property, and the unrestrained pursuit 
of national happiness. 

And your petitioners will ever pray. 

David Leslie, and about Seventy Others. 

Mr. Leslie was at this time superintendent pro tern 
of the mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 
Oregon during the absence of Mr. Lee in the East ar- 
ranging for and bringing to the coast the Great Re- 

Mr. Lee's Second Marriage. 

In 1839, before starting for the Pacific coast, Mr. 
Lee was married to Miss Lucy Thomson, of Barre, Ver- 
mont. For over two years she shared in the trials and 
toils of mission life and work in Oregon. Suddenly, 
on the morning of March 20, 1842, she went up to join 
the innumerable company whose robes are woven in the 
looms of heaven and whose feet touch the pathways of 
light with angelic fleetness. A daughter was born of 
this union. Of her, Dr. H. K. Hines says : 

She lived to become one of the accomplished graduates of 
the Willamette University, the school her father had founded 
as the "Oregon Institute." She was the most successful pre- 
ceptress that institution ever had. Then, in her full-orbed and 

Digitized by 


86 The Conquerors 

majestic womanhood she lay down to rest by her mother's side 
in Lee Mission Cemetery, at Salem, Oregon, the old Chemekete, 
a spot consecrated by more of the pioneers, heroes, and heroines 
of American Christianity than sleep anywhere else by the shores 
of these Western seas. 

After her death, Mr. Lee wrote to his nephew, Rev. 
Daniel Lee: 

... I stand like one bewildered. ... Is it possible 
that the sod in Oregon covers another companion who was 
dearer to me than life? . . . 

To his old friend, Bishop Baker, he wrote: 

My Dear Brother,— May heaven long save you from the 
pangs I feel, . . . but in the midst of all, I rejoice that 
my companions will suffer no more and that I shall join them 
in that glorious realm. ... I feel that it would be a sin 
to waste my energies in fruitless grief. ... I can exult in 
the midst of the furnace, for one like unto the "Son of man" 
is with me, and I expect to come forth without the smell ©f 
fire upon my garments. . . . 

Lee brought to the coast, in eighteen forty 
The largest missionary party 
That ever came o'er land or sea, 
To Oregon, to make her free; 
They built mills, and opened farms ; 
They erected storehouses and barns; 
They established homes and schools; 
They built churches, and adopted rules 
American; in form and fact, 
The result of Lee's work and tact 


On the evening of the 3d of October, 1839, the Missionary 
Society held a farewell meeting for the Oregon Mission family 
in the Green Street Methodist Episcopal Church, New York. 

The family consisted of Rev. Jason Lee and wife; Rev. 
J. H. Frost and wife; Rev. Gustavus Hines, wife and child; 

Digitized by 






Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 87 

Rev. W. H. Kone and wife; Rev. A. F. Waller, wife and two 
children; Rev. J. P. Richmond, M. D., wife and four children; 
Dr. I. L. Babcock (physician), wife and one child; Mr. Geo. 
Abernethy (missionary steward), wife and two children; Mr. 
W. W. Raymond (farmer) and wife; Mr. L. H. Judson (cabinet 
maker), wife and three children; Mr. J. L. Parish (blacksmith), 
wife and three children ; Mr. James Alley (carpenter) and wife ; 
Mr. Hamilton Campbell (carpenter), wife and child; Miss C. A. 
Clark, teacher; Miss Maria T. Ware, teacher; Miss Elmira 
Philips, teacher; Miss Orpha Lankton, stewardess; Miss A. 
Philips, and Thomas Adams (Indian boy). 

It is probable that a more impressive missionary service was 
never held in New York. Rev. Nathan Bangs, D. D., cor- 
responding secretary of the Missionary Society, presided, and 
Mr. G. P. Disosway was secretary. An address was delivered 
by Rev. Robert Alder, D. D., of London. Several of the mis- 
sionaries also addressed the meeting. 

The entire missionary family was introduced, and the chair- 
man delivered a farewell address. 

On the 9th day of October the Lausanne went to sea. — 
"Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest," by Dr. H. K. 

Of this missionary expedition, the following state- 
ment appears in the "History of the Catholic Church 
in Oregon:" "It was the greatest exodus ever sailing 
from an Eastern port to any coast." 

Bishop Blanchet says: "No missionaries were ever 
dispatched to represent the various sects in any land 
under more favorable auspices than were the ladies and 
gentlemen belonging to the Methodist Episcopal Church 
amidst the wilds of Oregon." 

And it is worthy of note that the favorable auspices 
referred to were effected by the overwhelming Oregon 
sentiment created by Jason Lee ; by the large amount of 
money he had raised to make the movement successful, 
and the wise management that characterized his con- 
trol of this Great Expedition. 

Digitized by 


88 The Conquerors 

Mr. Bancroft says of the missionaries who sailed 
from New York in 1839, under the leadership of Rev. 
Jason Lee: 

No company ever sailed from that port whose departure 
was watched with more interest by religious and political circles. 
The ship reached Honolulu on the nth of April, 1840, where 
all disembarked and were hospitably entertained until the 26th* 
when they set sail for the Columbia River. During their sojourn, 
Mr. Lee held a conference with Kamehameha III, relative to 
the exchange of productions between the islands and Oregon, 
and an informal treaty of commerce was entered into, to the 
manifest pleasure of the king. — Bancroft, "History of Oregon," 
Vol. I, page 178. 

Mr. Bancroft says, "The cost of this expedition was 

Wilson, in "Oregon Sketches," Mss. 23, says, "It 
involved an expenditure of $42,000." 

Quotations from Important Letters. 
The following is an extract from a letter written by 
Mrs. Judge Terry, of Los Angeles, Cal., to Dr. D. L. 
Rader, editor of the Pacific Christian Advocate, and was 
published in that paper June 28, 1905. She says: 

I enjoyed every word about dear Jason Lee. A better 
man, I suppose, never lived. His moral qualities were so 
enlarged and always in the ascendancy. Never shall I forget 
the moral lesson he taught me at twelve years of age. We 
were on our way from the Sandwich Islands to Oregon. Passing 
through the dining saloon on the way to the deck one morning, 
I spied a plate of molasses candy, and I stowed away a great 
lump of it in my mouth, when I felt a hand on my shoulder 
and heard the word "daughter" (he always called me his oldest 
daughter) come sadly and reprovingly from his lips. He asked 
me if I had any right to take the candy that did not belong 
to me, and as we promenaded the deck, with my little hand in 
his broad palm, he talked to me of truth, fidelity, and righteous- 
ness in such a way as to give me a longing for purity of heart. 
I was but twelve years of age, but the impression was lasting. 

Digitized by 






Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 89 

Of the missionaries who formed a part of the "Great 
Reinforcement" and came to Oregon with Jason Lee in 
1840, it is quite certain that at this date, January 1, 1906, 
there is but one survivor, viz., Mrs. S. R. Beggs, of 
Rosebud Indian Agency, South Dakota. She resides with 
her nephew and niece, Dr. and Mrs. E. J. DeBell. 

Mrs. Judge Terry, of Los Angeles, Cal., whose com- 
munication has just been given, was twelve years of 
age when she came to the coast ; and, though a member 
of the mission family, she was not a missionary. 

Rev. John O. Foster, D. D., an old friend of Mr. 
and Mrs. Beggs, has permitted me to read a letter which 
contains information of great historical importance. We 
give herewith a few excerpts from it: 

Brother Foster: 

I received your letter a few days since; in answer to your 
inquiries, will say: I was born on New- Year's day, 1816; I 
was married New- Year's day, 1834, to Rev. J. H. Frost In 
May, 1834, he joined the New York Conference. . . . 

In 1839 he was appointed as missionary to the Flathead 
Indians in Oregon by Bishop Hedding. . . . 

October 9, 1839, Wednesday, according to previous arrange- 
ment, carriages came to convey us to the White Hall Dock in 
New York. The steam tug Hercules had been chartered to 
carry some missionary friends and to tow our ship into the bay. 
A vast multitude had come to witness our departure. At ten 
o'clock, A. M., all things being ready, we took an affectionate 
leave of those on shore and, accompanied by as many as could 
be accommodated on the tug, were soon alongside the ship, and 
under motion for the bay, where we arrived about noon. 

After taking off some light articles on the vessel, some of 
the friends going aboard to see our cabins, we gathered on 
the Hercules for a brief religious service. After singing and 
prayer, Brothers Richmond and Campbell each had a child 

Dr. Nathan Bangs, the missionary secretary, addressed us 
in a very pathetic and appropriate manner. One of the secre- 

Digitized by 


90 The Conquerors 

taries of the American Board also made a short address. They 
sent out a missionary and family, Rev. L. M. Dibble, to the 
Sandwish Islands with us. 

Now came the parting scene; amid sighs and tears, we bade 
a final adieu to friends and embarked on the Lausanne. The 
tug loosed from the ship and took a long half -circle route 
around our bow, then bore away for the city. Hats, handker- 
chiefs, and flags were waved by us and also by them till distance 
obscured them from our view. 

After sixty-five days we arrived at Rio de Janeiro, South 
America, and as we sailed up the harbor, saw the most beauti- 
ful scenes we had ever looked upon. No ladies appeared on 
the streets unveiled, but we missionary women walked where 
we pleased and were a great curiosity. 

We visited the palace and were introduced to the emperor 
of Brazil, Don Pedro. He was a fine looking gentleman and 
was very courteous. We also saw a beautiful Portuguese lady 
of the court 

Two of our United States war vessels were in the harbor, 
and during our stay of a week they sent their gig down and 
took us ashore and showed us much attentioa It was hard 
to say farewell to beautiful Rio, as we weighed anchor and 
sailed away for Cape Horn and Valparaiso. 

Soon after leaving this port we were detained about a month 
by terrific head winds, and before we rounded Cape Horn were 
driven southward to the 6oth degree of south latitude. One 
day the captain requested all the ladies to come on deck dressed 
in their best attire, and as we appeared, he gave the order 
to square away the yards, and we were delighted to learn that 
the wind was now fair. The captain said, "I knew if you 
ladies came on deck we would have a fair wind." With a good 
breeze we started north. 

Presently our ship ran into a shoal of whales; they played 
about our ship for some time. The captain said that some of 
them were over sixty feet long, and that these were the first 
whales he had seen in thirty years in these waters. After two 
months from Rio, we arrived in Valparaiso to find that the 
smallpox was raging as an epidemic in the city. We lay in 
the harbor for two weeks without going ashore; then, via Juan 
Fernandez, we sailed for the Sandwich Islands. 

When we crossed the equator, going south, the captain called 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Cotmtry 91 

us on deck to assist him in burying the North Star. As it 
went down into the ocean, the men took off their hats, and 
we all bowed our heads and said good-bye until we meet again 
on the western side of the continent 

When we crossed the equator going north, the captain called 
us on deck to witness the resurrection of the North Star, and 
as it arose above the waves the men bared their heads, and we 
all cheered, so glad were we to see our old friend again. And 
there in mid-ocean we consecrated ourselves anew to the work 
of God. . . . 

A little later we struck the trade winds, and had warm 
weather and fair sailing till we reached the Sandwich Islands. 
The thing that attracted my attention here was the extinct 
volcanoes, and Diamond Head, which, we were told, had a little 
lake on the top. We could see the bold headland far out to 
sea and enjoyed the sight 

We entered the Columbia River in May, 1840, after a sea 
voyage of nearly eight months. We left our ship at Fort 
Vancouver, where we remained three months. We went down 
the river in a flat-boat and established our mission on the 
Clatsop Prairie. With the mission as a base, we traveled up 
and down the river, doing all the good we could among the 

Mr. Birnie, of the Hudson Bay Company, said, "Don't go 
to those Clatsop Indians; they will kill you." My husband 
said, "I am under orders and must go, and shall consider 
myself immortal until my work is done." 

Mr. Frost told the Indians that they must not kill, or steal, 
or lie, or commit adultery; they must love God, and love 
each other. They promised to do as he said, and they literally 
kept their word as long as we remained among them. They 
never showed any rudeness or indignity to us. They willingly 
assisted us in building the mission house. I mention these things 
to show that they were not as bad as represented, except in 
the matter of infanticide— many of the female children were 

One dark, rainy night, when the snow, the sleet, and the 
wind added their rigors to the winter on the Clatsop plains, 
a cry was heard; again and again the cry rang out upon the 
curtains of the night, and I said, "Husband, I am going to 
find out what that cry means." I went out into the darkness 

Digitized by 


92 The Conquerors 

and soon came to an abandoned Indian camp; they had thrown 
the baby girl among the weeds and left her there to die from 
starvation or exposure, or to be devoured by wild beasts. I 
fed, clothed, cared for, and instructed the child as a necessary 
preparation to a useful and happy Christian life. . . . 

While we were at the Clatsop Mission, a terrific storm came 
in from the ocean; it was terrible beyond description. Word 
reached us that a shoal of whales had been stranded on the 
beech. We ventured out to view the scene, and, sure enough, 
there they were; some of them were fifty feet long and weighed 
several tons. We counted twenty-five. The huge monsters rolled 
like great logs on the shore. Some of them did not die for 
days. Their struggles were a sight never to be forgotten. 

Of Dr. McLoughlin and his associate, Mr. Douglass, she 
says: I was well acquainted with these gentlemen, and am 
pleased to say a word as to their noble character. These men 
and Mr. Lee stood for law and order, and arranged a code 
of rules and regulations for the preservation of order and the 
protection of life and property in the Oregon country. 

Dr. McLoughlin had a son and daughter. The son was 
highly educated in a military school in England. He traveled 
for two years on the continent, then came to America and 
visited all places of interest in the United States and Canada. 
He was an elegant and noble young man and maintained the 
virtues of his father. 

My husband, Dr. Frost, was obliged to give up his mission 
work because of failing health. At the end of five years of 
service in Oregon we returned East, where, a little later, he 
died. A few years afterward I was married to Rev. S. R. 
Beggs, one of the pioneer ministers of the Rock River Con- 
ference. I assisted him in his work for many years and or- 
ganized a large number of Woman's Foreign Missionary 
Societies. Mr. Beggs died a few years ago. I have seen three 
generations come and go. I am old, gray, blind, and wrinkled, 
and time threatens to push me into the tomb very soon. Dr. 
E. J. DeBell, my nephew, brought me to his home, where I am 
pleasantly situated. He says the Lord has dealt very kindly with 
me in leaving me the use of my mind. I dictate my letters, 
but must use a borrowed hand to write them. 

My nephew and niece say I must stay with them until 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 98 

I am a century young. The years of my life have been full 
of Christian work. 

I have attended service frequently at the old church at 
Willamette Falls, to which you refer. I was at that place 
when Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, the bride and groom, were swept 
over the Falls and were drowned. I have camped many times 
upon the grounds where the beautiful city of Portland now 
stands and in which city the Methodist Congress and the Lewis 
and Gark Exposition, of which you speak, were held. Your 
reference to these and other things awakened precious memories 
of the olden time and brought forth a flood of tears. 

I am, with kind regards, yours as ever, 

Sarah R. Biggs. 

ist This, so far as the author of this book is aware, 
is the most graphic and complete description of the sail- 
ing of the Lausanne of which we have any record. 

2d. The large numbers present on this notable occa- 
sion, many of whom came from distant and different 
parts of the country. 

The intense interest and enthusiasm they manifested 
in this Great Expedition shows with tremendous force 
the effectiveness of Mr. Lee's work in behalf of Oregon, 
and the strong hold he had upon the attention and upon 
the hearts of the people of the United States. 

Nothing equal to it has ever been witnessed in the 
history of missionary movements. 

The Lausanne was to the Pacific coast in 1839 
what the Mayflower was to the Atlantic coast at an 
earlier date. 

The Mayflower brought to the shores of New Eng- 
land the men who laid the foundations of empire in the 
New World. 

The Lausanne brought a shipload of Methodists 
to the Pacific coast who, by the settlement they made 
and the work they wrought, established an American 
Commonwealth in Oregon. 

Digitized by 


94 The Conquerors 

In each case the British Government claimed owner- 
ship of the country. In the first instance, victory came 
to the American contention at the close of what is 
known as the War of the Revolution. In the other, it 
came as the result of the larger numbers and the greater 
influence and effort that was brought to bear upon the 
situation through the American Mission Settlement es- 
tablished by Jason Lee. 

An Important Letter. 

A long letter, written by Jason Lee, on the good 
ship Lausanne, when on the way to Oregon, is given in 
the Christian Advocate and Journal, from which we give 
a few brief excerpts. It is dated February 22, 1840, and 
published in issue of January 27, 1841. 

"Oregon Mission Famh,y at the Sandwich Isi*ands." 

Here follows a description of the journey from New 
York; a statement of the health of the missionaries 
and their families, and an account of the services held 
on shipboard, consisting of preaching, love-feasts, sacra- 
mental services, prayer-meetings, and lectures by Mr. Lee 
descriptive of Oregon, its climate, and the conditions 
that prevailed; the difficulties that the missionaries had 
to encounter ; the grandeur of the work, etc. 

He gives a very interesting account of his visit to the 
king of the islands, as follows : 

According to previous arrangement, the mission family met 
on the 1 6th inst at the house of the United States Consul, and 
walked thence to the palace to pay our respects to the king, 
accompanied by the consul. 

We were shown into a spacious apartment and seated, where 
we awaited the presence of the king. He soon entered, at- 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 95 

tended by the Rev. Mr. Richards, his interpreter, and his prime 

The consul presented to him Brother Lee as the superin- 
tendent of the expedition. The salutation over and all quietly 
seated, the consul stated our object in going to Oregon; the 
mutual intercourse and exchange of commodities which would 
exist between the two countries, and recommended us to the 
same favorable consideration his majesty had always granted 
to the citizens of the United States, and hoped that the same 
friendly feelings which had characterized the intercourse of his 
Government between the United States and its citizens might 
continue between the people in these islands and the American 
settlement in Oregon. 

The king, in reply, said he was pleased to see us going to 
Oregon for such a purpose, it was good, and that he had no 
doubt but that an exchange of commodities would be beneficial 
to both countries; that we were welcome to the shores of his 
island home, and hoped that our friendly relations would con- 
tinue. Brother Lee then arose and stated the object of his 
work in Oregon, the long distance he had to come, and the 
difficulties encountered, etc The king replied, "He is very perse- 
vering." Brother Lee expressed his joy for what the Gospel 
was accomplishing in the Sandwich Islands and his ardent desire 
and prayer for the prosperity of the country, and especially 
for the happiness and welfare of his majesty, both here and 
hereafter. The king seemed considerably affected when his own 
personal salvation was the subject of conversation. 

The Flathead Indian boy was then introduced. The king 
was very much interested and inquired how long he had been 
learning, if he could speak English, upon what his people lived, 
and expressed a wish to hear him speak in his own language, etc 

The prime minister is a female of immense stature. She 
said, "I have little to say, except to express my admiration for 
you and your work and my best wishes for your success." 

When we arose to depart, the king arose and took us each 
by the hand, and we retired pleased and gratified with the 
interview. . . . 

There are two large native churches in this place, 
in each of which, perhaps, there assembles from two to three 
thousand persons to hear the Word of Life. . . . O, what 
a field is open to the Church all along the coast of the vast 

Digitized by 


96 The Conquerors 

Pacific, from Cape Horn to the North Pole! . . . You will 
hear from us soon after we reach Oregon. 1 

From the information contained in this letter of Mr. 
Lee's it is shown: 

ist. How the time of the missionaries was occu- 
pied on board the ship during the long voyage half way 
around the globe. 

2d. This interview with the king of the Hawaiian 
Islands was a prophecy and a prelude to the ownership 
of the islands by the United States. 

3d. Mr. Lee's reference to the largeness of the 
Pacific coast country, and the vastness of the oppor- 
tunity for doing good, together with the formal ex- 
pression of desire for friendliness in matters of trade, 
is proof of the clearness of his vision in regard to the 
greatness of the country, the possibilities of its future, 
and his statesmanlike grasp of the situation, both in a 
commercial and a religious sense. 

A letter from Rev. A. F. Waller is published in the 
Christian Advocate and Journal, February 10, 1841. He 
tells of the safe arrival of the missionaries in Oregon. 
He also gives an account of the voyage, and says, of 
a large church that was being erected in the Sandwich 
Islands, at Honolulu, "It is one hundred and forty-four 
feet in length and seventy-eight feet in width. . . ."* 

1 Mr. Lee's audience with the king was not only the initial action in the es- 
tablishment of commercial relations between the United States and the Hawaiian 
Islands, but it is an interesting coincident that in less than a twelve-month there- 
after the king gave his people a written constitution in which was incorporated the 
provision that the Christian religion should be the established religion of his 
Island Kingdom. 

t The erection of this large church and the wonderful transformation that had 
taken place among the native population afford incontrovertible proof of the 
effectiveness of the work done by the missionaries of the "American Board" in 
these islands. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 97 

Amivai, o* thu Lausanne with the Great 

The Lausanne was under the command of Captain 
Spaulding, and was chartered by the Missionary Society. 
She entered the Columbia River and cast anchor in 
Baker's Bay, May 21, 1840. They disembarked at Van- 
couver on the 1st day of June, 1840, and were welcomed 
by Dr. McLoughlin to the hospitalities of the Hudson 
Bay Company as long as they should find it necessary 
to remain at that place. This was the largest band of 
missionaries that ever left or entered an American port. 
The personnel of this party has been given in these pages. 

They met for consultation at Vancouver, after which 
they were appointed to their several fields of labor. The 
following assignments were made by the superintendent: 

The Clatsop, near the mouth of the Columbia 

River J. H. Frost. 

The Dalles Daniel Lee and H. K. W. Perkins. 

Nisqually, on Puget Sound J. P. Richmond. 

Umpqua Gustavus Hines and W. H. Kone. 

Willamette Station David Leslie. 

Willamette Falls Alvan F. Waller. 

The Dalles 

The mission at The Dalles (Wascopam) was estab- 
lished in March, 1838. Revs. Daniel Lee and H. K. W. 
Perkins were placed in charge. It was located where 
the beautiful city of The Dalles now stands. 

A Periwus Journey. 

In the winter of 1842 ominous rumors of trouble 
with the Indians were heard; signs of unrest were ap- 
parent among the Walla Wallas and the Cayuses in that 
region. Mr. Lee was looked to to avert the danger; he 
braved the perils of a journey in mid-winter to that place 

Digitized by 


98 The Conquerors 

and succeeded in calming the disturbed conditions. His 
account of this trip is given in his journal and is full 
of interest His escape was almost miraculous. He 
says, under date of January 31, 1843: "With the snow, 
the wind, and the drifting ice and the violent currents of 
surging waters, escape seemed impossible, but I was fully 
composed and able to stay myself on the Lord." 

Dr. Hines, speaking of this perilous journey, says: 

Can the records of missionary work in any land or in any 
age show braver or more self-denying toil than this? In the 
snows and storms of mid-winter, with four Indian companions, 
a hundred and fifty miles up and down great rivers broken 
by cascades, swept by wintry tempests, with currents sweeping 
on toward the sea, filled with floating ice; with the snow a 
foot or more deep along the portage and the bleak and un- 
inhabited shores where they camped; adventure has no more 
thrilling story, piety no diviner devotion, and courage no more 
magnificent daring than were displayed by this man in his work 
among the most degraded of earth. 

February 1st, Mrs. Lee, in his journal, says: "Found 
the members of the mission well. Mrs. Dr. Whitman 
was with them. I was glad to meet her, as I had not 
seen her since I called upon them on my journey East 
in 1838, but was sorry to find her in poor health." 

The station at The Dalles, on the Columbia, was dan- 
gerously isolated and exposed. The Indians in that 
region had always been the most bloodthirsty of any 
with whom the trappers and traders had to contend. 
The Northwest Company and, in the after years, the 
Hudson Bay Company were compelled to bear their 
burdens in one hand and their rifles in the other ready 
for instant use as they went to and fro upon their er- 
rands of barter. Never until Jason Lee had entered the 
country and begun his teaching among the Indians, had 
travelers dared to pass these gates without armed bands 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 99 

to defend them, and even then they often paid a heavy 
tribute of plunder and blood to the savage guardians 
of these rocky passes. The strongest expeditions were 
sometimes defeated, and it required all the skill and 
bravery of such daring mountaineers as Ross, McDougall, 
and McKay to secure a passage through the robber bands 
of Wishram. 

His mission and visit in the interest of continued 
peaceful relations with the Indians was eminently suc- 

Dr. H. K. Hines says: "No other American in the 
country had as much influence as Jason Lee with these 
Indians, and his courage and sagacity were equal to any 

As a result of Mr. Lee's visit and the work he began 
at that time, a blessed awakening and revival occurred 
among the Indians, and many of them were converted. 

An Eloquent Prayer. 

Daniel Lee gives the substance of a prayer offered 
by one of them: 

O Thou great God on high, we now pray to Thee, Our 
fathers knew Thee not; they died in darkness, but we have 
heard of Thee. Now we see a little. Truly we are wretched; 
our hearts are blind, dark as night; our ears are closed; our 
hearts are bad, full of evil, nothing good Truly we pray now 
to Thee. O make us good; put away our bad hearts; give 
Thy Holy Spirit to make our hearts soft! O, make our hearts 
good, all good, always good! Now, we desire Thee; O, come 
into our hearts— now come, Jesus Christ— Thy Son died for us. 
O Jesus, wash our hearts ! Behold and bless— Amen. 

Dr. Hines says: "About 1,200 Indians were in at- 
tendance at this meeting. On Sunday one hundred and 
fifty were baptized by Jason Lee; four or five hundred 

Digitized by 


100 The Conquerors 

partook of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper amid 
tokens of spiritual interest and appreciation often lack- 
ing in more cultured congregations." 

The character and blessed results of the work done 
at this mission is indicated in the following estimate: 

Dr. McLoughlin said to Jason Lee: "Before you 
came to the country, we could not send a boat past 
The Dalles without an armed guard of sixty men. Now 
we go up and down the river singly, and no one is 
robbed." Thus Mr. Lee's missionaries had become a 
very effective police force. 

Rev. Daniel Lee was born in Stanstead, Canada, 
July I, 1806. He was converted in 1827. He joined 
the New Hampshire Conference in 183 1. He came to 
the Pacific coast with Jason Lee in 1834. He was mar- 
ried, at Fort Vancouver, in Oregon, June 11, 1840, to 
Miss Maria T. Ware, by Rev. Jason Lee. He had charge 
of the mission at The Dalles. He left Oregon in August, 
1843, an d took his place in the New Hampshire Con- 
ference, of which he remained a member until his death, 
which occurred at Oakgrove, Oklahoma, July 22, 1895. 
Miss Maria T. Ware was born in Gilsum, New Hamp- 
shire, October 7, 1812. She died in Caldwell, Kansas, 
July 4, 1892. 

Dr. H. K. Hines, in his book, "Missionary History 
of the Pacific Northwest," says of Daniel Lee : 

His missionary career was of a most devoted and honorable 
character. He was the nephew of Jason Lee, and a little more 
than three years his junior. Young, strong, courageous, in- 
domitable, and practical, no better helper could have been se- 
lected He was a great admirer of the character and abilities 
of his uncle, and rejoiced in the opportunity of uniting his 
destiny with that of the man he loved and revered 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 101 

Important Notice. 

In the Christian Advocate and Journal o\ February 
10, 1841, among other items of interest referring to 
Oregon, appears this notice: "Just published, tract No. 
300. This gives an account of the work of God in the 
Oregon Mission, under the charge of the Rev. Jason Lee. 
Let the friends of missions send for it, and distribute it 
far and wide. The facts it contains are worth more 
than a thousand mere arguments." 

The inscription on the title-page of the tract herein 
referred to was, "Wonderful work of God among the 
Indians of the Oregon Territory." It consisted of clip- 
pings from the journal of Rev. H. K. W. Perkins, giving 
a very interesting account of a great revival among the 
Indians at Wascopam (The Dalles), when over eight 
hundred were converted. It began in September, 1839, 
about the time that the mission house at that place was 

This work of grace was remarkable for the interest 
taken in the services, for the large attendance, and the 
many genuine conversions that took place, as evidenced 
in the changed lives of multitudes of Indians. This 
revival was one of the most successful that ever oc- 
curred among the aborigines in the Oregon country. 

The tract had an extensive circulation and was finally, 
with other popular tracts, bound and sold in book form 
by the Methodist Book Concern. 

In the same issue there is this statement, "The larg- 
est mission family ever sent out has reached Oregon." 

Excerpts from Important Letters. 
A letter from Rev. A. F. Waller is published in the 
Christian Advocate and Journal, March 1, 1841; it is 
dated June 9, 1840: 

Digitized by 


102 The Conquerors 


. • . The Hudson Bay Company have a strong hold upon 
this country and are doing an extensive business. . . • The 
Columbia is one of the noblest rivers in the world; its waters 
abound with salmon, the finest fish I ever saw or tasted. . . . 
The country, so far as I am able to judge, is as good as the 
world affords. . . . 

The same writer has an article in the same paper 
in the issue of May 19, 1841. After describing his work 
among the Indians, in which he refers to their rapid 
disappearance as a very discouraging feature of mission- 
ary work among them, he says : 

Our mission is exerting a very salutary influence upon the 
territory. ... I have no doubt the country will settle, and 
that rapidly. It is very good for grain — wheat especially; I 
have never seen such fine wheat in the Genesee country. . . . 

Cattle will keep fat all winter without fodder. . . . Hun- 
dreds of thousands of acres are ready for the plow. . . . 

Hold yourself in readiness to come to Oregon. We need 
more help, and must have it to meet the wants of the 
country. . . . 

The Christian Advocate and Journal of August 25, 
1842, has a four-column article from Jason Lee, dated, 
"Mission House, Willamette, March 15, 1841," The 
following excerpt is of interest in that it shows the 
rapid disappearance of the Indians and the manner in 
which they accounted for it : 

Some came to our tent and began to talk about their former 
numbers and the causes of the great decrease which had taken 
place since their remembrance. 

They said the smallpox had carried off nearly all of their 
people many years ago, and that the "cold sick" (the fever and 
ague) had killed the rest, so that there were "halo tilicum ulta," 
''no people now." The cold sick, they claimed, was brought to 
them by Captain Dominus. 

King George's people told them to give them all the large 
beaver and salmon, and to give Captain Dominus all the small 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 108 

ones; and that he became angry and told them that they would 
see by and by, and that they would all be dead before long. 
Accordingly, when he was about to leave, he opened his phial 
and let out the cold sick. 

I told them that the smallpox could be carried in a phial, 
but not the ague. They seemed a little staggered, but of course 
could see no good reason why the one could not be carried in 
a phial as well as the other. . . . 

The foregoing is descriptive of a scene that occurred 
as Mr. Lee was on his way up the Columbia in a canoe, 
on his return to Oregon with the Great Reinforcement. 
He camped Saturday night, May 22, 1840, and next 
day (Sunday) held services with the Indians. 

May 25th. — Reached Vancouver, and was received by Dr. 
McLoughlin with all his characteristic kindness and hospitality. 
He assured me that he had room for Mr. Lee and all his. 

I remained with the Doctor four hours, and then left for 
the Willamette. Reached the lower part of the settlement about 
sunset and started on horseback for the mission. Night came 
on, and I slept at the house of Mrs. E. Tibbits. 

May 27th. — Made an early start and arrived at the mission 
while they were at breakfast. No news of my arrival preceded, 
I therefore took them by surprise. Brother Whitcomb met 
me at the door; Sister Shepard came next; but O what a 
meeting was that! What changes in the short space of two 
years! Our mutual afflictions came rushing upon us with over- 
whelming force. It was too much; our dear sister was obliged 
to leave the room to give vent in private to her feelings, which 
it was not possible to restrain; I left four precious friends in 
the Mission House, but now I find but two. I gazed involun- 
tarialy around, but I see them not Alas! alas! I must seek 
them in the silent grave, for they have ceased from their labors, 
and their works do follow them. . . . 

Monday, 31st. — Left for Vancouver. . . . On the evening 
of June 13, 1840, the brethren received their appointments. 
After we reached the Willamette, it was judged best to proceed 
forthwith to erect a sawmill, in order to facilitate our building 
operations in this station. . . . 

It was thought best that the Umpqua should be more thor- 

Digitized by 


104 The Conquerors 

oughly examined before our brethren proceeded to that field. 
Accordingly, Brother Hines and myself, accompanied by Dr. 
White and an Indian boy, left the mission to visit and explore 
that region. . . . Dined with our friends who are erecting 
the sawmill, distant eight or ten miles from the mission. . . 

I am, dear sir, 

The above communication closes with a lengthy de- 
scription of Mr. Lee's visit to the Umpqua country and 
the dangers encountered. 8 

There are two communications in the Christian Advo- 
cate and Journal from Rev. David Leslie, dated Sep- 
tember 30, 1840 ; in one of these he furnishes an obituary 
notice of Cyrus Shepard ; the other contains many items 
of interest, among which are: 

At the Willamette Mission Station there are two hundred 
and seven acres of land enclosed, one hundred and twenty-two 
of which are under cultivation. In 1839 wheat harvested, 1,100 
bushels; potatoes, 850 bushels; peas, 250 bushels; number of 
swine, 65; horses, 63; cattle, 168. 

These excerpts from original letters, papers, official 
correspondence, records, etc., contain many facts of great 
historical importance: 

1st. They show very clearly and fully the causes 
that led up to the beginning of missionary work in 

2d. They give valuable information about the work 
done and the settlement made by the missionaries, out of 
which American institutions were born on these Pacific 

S Mr. Lee left the mission August 18, 1840, for this second tour to the Umqua 
Country. The journey was a very perilous one, and because of the tieacherous 
character of the Indians and their threatening attitude toward the missionaries the 
purpose to establish a mission in that region was abandoned. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 105 

shores. The visit of the Indians in St. Louis ; the initia- 
tory correspondence, plans, and work that entered into 
the arrangement for the establishment of a mission in 
Oregon, are given with a completeness of detail that 
greatly enhances their value. The reliability of this in- 
formation is beyond question. 

3d. Jason Lee, in his two great missionary com- 
paigns, created an intense interest in behalf of Oregon 
that was widespread and overwhelming in its effect in 
favor of the American contention. They show : 

4th. That he raised large sums of money, by which 
he not only made liberal provision for his work in 
Oregon, but the missionary work of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church throughout the world was greatly strength- 
ened thereby. His campaigns were also a benediction 
of helpfulness to the missionary work of other Churches. 
It gave increased life and power to missionary work 

5U1. They show that the Indians were rapidly dis- 
appearing, and that the white people were taking their 
place in the occupancy and control of the country, and 
that the work of the missionaries was being transferred 
in part from the Indian mission work to the upbuilding 
of the American settlement. 

6th. They give evidence of the fact that Mr. Lee's 
work on the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts was the great 
factor that created and maintained the growth and the 
permanency of this American settlement. 

Digitized by 



Nisqually — Jason Lee's Mission Settlement on 
Puget Sound 

Mr. LEE visited Nisqually in 1838, previous to his 
visit East, and determined to establish a mission at that 

The mission house was erected under the direction 
of Rev. David Leslie and Mr. W. H. Wilson. They 
came to Nisqually in the early part of April, 1839, and 
on the 10th of that month began the erection of the 
mission buildings. 

The site selected was about a half-mile east of the 
Hudson Bay Company's fort and trading post. The main 
building was eighteen feet wide and thirty-two feet long, 
with walls nine feet high. An addition, eighteen by 
twenty feet, was afterward built on the west side. Whip- 
saws were used in preparing the lumber used in the 
construction of the building. 

A stockade was erected around the building, leaving 
sufficient grounds in the enclosure for garden purposes 
and the work of the mission. The officers and men at 
the Hudson Bay Company's fort assisted in this work 
with labor and material. 

Mr. Lee, on his return to the coast in 1840, with the 
Great Reinforcement, met with the missionaries at Van- 
couver, where they spent several days in consultation and 
prayer and final preparation for departure to their fields 
of labor. 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 107 

Dr. John P. Richmond was appointed to Nisqually. 
He was the first American and family to become resi- 
dents of the Puget Sound country. He antedated all 
other American settlers by at least five years. 

In connection with the appointment of Dr. Rich- 
mond as missionary, Mr. W. H. Wilson was appointed 
to the secular department, and Miss Chloe A. Clark as 
teacher of the Mission School. 

From Vancouver, they went down the Columbia and 
up the Cowlitz in canoes, and then on pack horses and 
on foot, over a rough trail, to the point of their destina- 

Dr. Richmond visited the camps in the surrounding 
country, and talked to the Indians through an interpreter. 
Religious services were held regularly at the mission. 
About fifty Indian children attended the mission school. 

Soon after the opening of the mission, Mr. Wilson 
and Miss Clark were married. They were the first 
American couple to be married in Western Washington. 
The first American child who could claim the Puget 
Sound country as its birthplace was born to Mr. and 
Mrs. Richmond — a son. The following record was made 
in the Bible at the time of his baptism: 

Francis Richmond, son of John P. Richmond and his wife, 
America, was born at Puget Sound, near Nisqually, Oregon 
Territory, on the 28th of February, Anno Domini 1842, and was 
baptized by Rev. Jason Lee, superintendent of Oregon Missions. 

That Dr. Richmond recognized the fact that the es- 
tablishment of the mission at Nisqually was intended to 
have an important bearing upon the American claim to 
the Oregon country is evident from the following cor- 

In answer to a communication in the Seattle Weekly 
Chronicle of July 12, 1883, touching the mission estab- 

Digitized by 


108 The Conquerors 

lished by Jason Lee at Nisqually in 1840, Dr. Richmond 
furnishes an article in the Tacoma News of April 8, 
1884. We give a few excerpts, as follows : 

Very few persons seem to comprehend the logic or the 
purpose of the Board of Missions in sending a large number 
of men and women to Oregon. . . . The contravening claims 
of the United States and the British Governments were held 
in abeyance by the treaty of joint occupancy. . . . The Hud- 
son Bay Company and its subsidiary organization, the Puget 
Sound Agricultural Company, had stretched their army of occu- 
pation over the territory and were urging the British Govern- 
ment to hold fast to the country. 

They had sheep and herds of cattle, and dairy farms, with 
shepherds, herders, and servants to conduct them. . . . 

In 1824 the Russian Government recognized the claim of 
the United States to the country south of the line 54 40' 
north latitude, in a convention that bound them severally to 
make no conflicting settlements north or south of that line by 
their different nationalities. 

In 1 81 8 a treaty of joint occupancy was entered into between 
the United States and the British Government . . . Under 
this condition of things the Hudson Bay Company had full 

Their jurisdiction was acknowledged by their servants and 
employees. They had British or Canadian laws, with officers 
and magistrates to enforce them. 

On the other hand, the American missionaries and settlers 
had the protection of no law until they themselves created a 
Provisional Government, and my old friend, George Abernethy, 
was elected Governor of Oregon. 

From the time that Jason Lee was sent to the coast, he 
and the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
labored to establish a foundation of proper influences and prin- 
ciples that would be helpful to the emigrants that would follow. 
In the meantime, they were to use every appliance available for 
the betterment of the condition of the Indians. 

My part in the work was to represent American citizenship 
and American enterprise on Puget Sound. I had no complaints 
to make against the Hudson Bay Company in the matter of 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 109 

hospitality, but I wish it distinctly understood that they received 
proper compensation for the favors shown and the help granted. 

I could not but be impressed with the conviction that I was 
regarded as an intruder. Nevertheless, I believed that the soil 
upon which I was treading belonged to the United States and 
was a part of my own country. 

In regard to the possessory rights of the United States on 
the Pacific coast, it will be remembered that, in the Presidential 
campaign of 1844 between James K. Polk and Henry Clay, the 
oriflamme of the Polk banner was, "Fifty- four forty or fight;" 
and it is quite certain that if the position of the President had 
been maintained there would have been no British Columbia, 
and, with the acquisition of California and the purchase of 
Alaska, there would be to-day an uninterrupted coast line of 
United States territory from the Arctic Sea to the Gulf of 

Tyndall, South Dakota, March 27, 1884. 

John P. Richmonr 

The agreement referred to by Dr. Richmond between 
the Russian and the United States Governments was a 
recognition by both of these contracting parties of the 
rightfulness of the American claim to the ownership of 
the Pacific coast south of Alaska, north of Mexico, and 
west of the Rocky Mountains. This, together with the 
fact, stated elsewhere in these pages, that the United 
States Government had in 1803 purchased the rights 
and claims of France and Spain to Oregon, gave great 
strength to the contention of the Democratic Party in 
1844, that the rights of ownership to all of the original 
Oregon country inhered in the Government of the United 
States. Also, as previously stated, added strength was 
given to the claim of the United States in the fact that 
American traders and trappers were the first to occupy 
and take possession of the Pacific coast country, not 
so much, perhaps, with the intention of forming the 
nucleus of an American settlement and commonwealth, 

Digitized by 


110 The Conquerors 

but, rather, with the purpose of exploiting the country. 
They, nevertheless, as compared with the subjects of 
Great Britain, were the first to occupy the Oregon 

At the time of Rev. Jason Lee's visit to Illinois, in 
1838, Dr. Richmond was stationed at Jacksonville. He 
became enthused with the descriptions of the Oregon 
country given by Mr. Lee, and with many others de- 
cided to go to the Pacific coast. In sermons and ad- 
dresses throughout that country, he supplemented the 
work of Jason Lee and helped to make that region the 
great stamping-ground of the early emigrations to Ore- 

After a year and a half of mission work in Oregon, 
his health failed, and he returned to the Illinois Con- 
ference and was stationed at Springfield, Quincy, and 
other points. 

In 1854 his health failed again, and he was obliged 
to give up the active work of the ministry. 

Dr. Richmond was a graduate of the Pennsylvania 
University. He was a physician and also a minister and 
a member of the Illinois Conference. He sat in the 
Senate of Illinois while Abraham Lincoln was a member 
of the Lower House. He was speaker of the Lower 
House when Chief Justice Fuller and Gen. John A. 
Logan occupied seats in that body. He was chosen by 
the Electoral College of his State to cast its vote for 
President in 1856. He was elected to membership in 
two constitutional State conventions. He was superin- 
tendent of schools eight years. His election to these 
positions of trust and honor came largely as the result 
of the knowledge the people had of him in his ex- 
tensive ministrations in the Churches and his efforts 
throughout that country in behalf of Oregon. 

Digitized by 




Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 111 

The mission settlement established at Nisqually, and 
the events associated therewith, made the efforts to 
secure American supremacy in the Puget Sound country 
operative and effective. 

Mrs. Richmond's first name being America was a 
remarkable co-incidence associated with the establishment 
of the American settlement at Nisqually. Rev. John P. 
Richmond was born August 7, 181 1, in Middleton, Mary- 
land. He died August 28, 1895. 

We give herewith the photos of the members of this 
family, whose names, birthplaces, and work identify them 
so prominently with the American and the missionary 
history of Oregon. 

Exploring Expedition. 

A naval expedition, under the command of Captain 
Charles Wilkes, sailed from Norfolk, Va., August 9, 
1838. The squadron under his command embraced the 
sloops of war Vincennes and Peacock, the ship Relief, 
the brig Porpoise, and the tenders Sea Gull and Flying 

The object of this expedition, as stated in the in- 
structions or orders given Captain Wilkes by the Gov- 
ernment, was to make examinations in the waters of the 
southern part of the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. 
He was also directed to visit the islands of the Pacific, 
and was expected to reach the Sandwich Islands in 
April, 1840, where he would be met by a store-ship 
with a supply of provisions from the United States. 
From this point he was to visit the northwest coast of 
North America, the Columbia River, and California. 

You will then proceed to the coast of Japan, taking, in your 
route, as many doubtful islands as possible, and secure in- 

Digitized by 


112 The Conquerors 

formation that will shorten the route of vessels to and from 

Having completed your survey, you will proceed to the port 
of Singapore, where it is probable you may arrive about the 
first of April, 1841. Here you will meet a store ship from the 
United States. . . . 

Having completed this service, you will return to the United 
States by the Cape of Good Hope. 

He made Cape Disappointment, at the mouth of the 
Columbia River, April 28, 1841. The Peacock was lost 
at the entrance to the Columbia. The men were saved. 

Captain Wilkes, with the Vincennes and the Porpoise, 
spent the summer of 1841 in the Puget Sound country. 
He entered the Straits of Juan de Fuca, May 1, 1841. 
He made investigations in line with his instructions, and 
gave names to many points of interest in this region. 
Commencement Bay, on the shores of which the 
city of Tacoma is located, was named in honor of the 
fact that at this place he began his labors. 

Speaking of the mission at Nisqually, he says: "I 
visited Dr. Richmond, who had settled here and occu- 
pied a nice log house, built on the borders of one of the 
beautiful prairies. The location of the mission house 
can scarcely be surpassed." 

In the after years Captain Wilkes evidenced his loy- 
alty to his country by another act, better known in his- 
tory than the one just narrated. It was he who with 
his good ship the San Jacinto overtook the British 
steamer Trent, in November, 1861, at sea and, firing 
across her bow, compelled her to give up Mason and 
Slidell, Confederate envoys sent to England to open ne- 
gotiations in behalf of the Confederacy. 

If the Trent had not been intercepted, thereby per- 
mitting these men to have reached England ; or, had there 
been at that time telegraphic communication between 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 118 

England and the United States, so that the report of the 
forcible taking of these men from the custody of a 
British ship on the high seas could have been imme- 
diately communicated to England, war would most likely 
have ensued. 

The delay and the prompt release of the men, ac- 
companied with appropriate words of apology, were the 
saving factors in the case. 

Captain Charles Wilkes was born in New York, April 
3, 1798. He entered the naval service of the United 
States as midshipman in 18 18. He was commissioned 
as lieutenant, April 28, 1826. At the time of his death 
he occupied the rank of Rear-Admiral in the United 
States Navy. He died in Washington, D. C, February 
8, 1877. 

The most important and pre-eminently the greatest 
work in securing American supremacy in the Pacific 
coast country was the colonization movement of Jason 

One of the purposes of the Wilkes expedition was 
to strengthen this work. 

The naval expedition, in its relation to the Oregon 
question, was an auxiliary movement. It was an ac- 
companiment of and a supplement to the work of Jason 

The ships, the guns, the surveys made, the naval 
display, and the reports published of the work done 
on Puget Sound were comparatively valueless only as 
they represented the authority of the United States Gov- 
ernment in strengthening the colonization features of 
the movement that looked to the occupancy and control 
of Oregon. 

The American conquest of Oregon came not as the 
result of this naval expedition, but, rather, as the cer- 

Digitized by 


114 The Conquerors 

tain and the legitimate outcome of the larger settlement 
made and the greater influence exerted in the case by 
the American missionaries under the guiding hand of 
Jason Lee, as compared with the counter movement made 
by the Hudson Bay Company. 

Mr. Lee visited Washington in the winter of 1838. 
His intention to take to the Pacific coast a large mis- 
sionary expedition as soon as arrangement could be made 
for its organization and equipment was made known, 
whereupon the officers of the Government granted him 
financial assistance for the establishment of his American 
mission settlements at Nisqually and elsewhere in the 
Oregon country. 

Both the missionary and the naval expedition were 
events that, under the conditions that then prevailed, 
were especially significant, as the following facts will 
indicate : 

1. The claim and rights of the United States in 
the Puget Sound country were being jeopardized by the 
action of the Hudson Bay Company, and its ally, the 
Puget Sound Agricultural Company. In that important 
memorial presented to Congress in 1839 by Rev. David 
Leslie and about seventy residents of the American 
mission settlement in the Willamette Valley, reference 
is given to the fact that the representatives of Great 
Britain claimed exclusive ownership of the country north 
of the Columbia River. 

The establishment of the American mission settle- 
ment at Nisqually, and the naval demonstration accom- 
panying it, were intended to counteract this movement 
for British possession. 

The following are excerpts from this memorial: 

The English Government has had a surveying party in this 
field for two years, making accurate surveys of its bays and 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 115 

harbors, and recently the said Government has made a grant 
to the Hudson Bay Company of all the lands between the 
Columbia River and Puget Sound, and the said company is 
actually exercising unequivocal acts of ownership over said lands 
and opening extensive farms. . . . 

Their declaration is, that they own and will hold that portion 
of Oregon north of the Columbia River. . . . 

And your petitioners represent that the said territory is an 
invaluable possession to the American Union; that in and about 
Puget Sound are the only harbors of easy access and com- 
modious and safe upon the coast of the territory, and that a 
great part of the country is rich in timber and valuable in 
minerals. . . . 

In the foregoing facts is the key to the interest taken 
by the Government in Jason Lee's missionary expedi- 
tion, as embraced in the outfitting of the Lausanne, the 
establishment of an American mission settlement at 
Nisqually, and sending a naval expedition to attest its 
claim of ownership to the Puget Sound country. 

These acts of the British Government demanded and 
received prompt and vigorous counter action by the 
United States Government. 

The headquarters and place of rendezvous for the 
naval expedition was at Nisqually, in close proximity to 
the American mission settlement. The making this point 
the base of operations was no doubt in keeping with 
instructions and may not have been altogether a matter 
of choice. 

2. The kindred relation of the missionary expedition 
under Jason Lee that reached Oregon, May 21, 1840, and 
the naval expedition under Captain Charles Wilkes, is 
seen in the fact that they were contemporaneous events, 
and the effect of their work in its relation to the Oregon 
question was identical. 

The whole trend of the action of the United States 
Government touching the adjustment of this matter 

Digitized by 


116 The Conquerors 

shows that the purpose and aim was to settle it without 
a resort to war, if possible ; and the only way this could 
be done was by strengthening the colonization movement, 
through and by which the joint occupancy deal would 
terminate in favor of the claim of the United States. 

The plans Mr. Lee had formulated for the occupancy 
of the Oregon country formed the basis for the financial 
assistance granted him by the Government, also for send- 
ing the naval expedition to these waters, and for the 
correspondence that took place between Mr. Lee and 
Mr. Gushing, referred to elsewhere in these pages. 

This action on the part of the Government was in- 
tended, not only to assist Mr. Lee in the colonization 
features of his work, but it was also intended to demon- 
strate and emphasize the purpose of the United States 
to maintain its claim to the Puget Sound country. 

3. The kindred relation of the work of Jason Lee 
and Captain Wilkes is seen in the fact that, during the 
stay of Captain Wilkes on Puget Sound he sought an 
interview with Mr. Lee, and made (at that time) the 
difficult journey to the Columbia River for this purpose, 
a thing he would not have been likely to do but for the 
vital and the similar relation they sustained to American 
interests on Puget Sound. 

4. The fact that Captain Wilkes made extensive sur- 
veys and investigations in the Puget Sound country ; that 
his stay therein was prolonged, embracing several months 
beyond the time indicated by the Government in its 
orders to him; that his headquarters were at Nisqually; 
that he gave to this work his personal supervision ; that 
he gave names to many points in the Puget Sound 
country, is very significant in connection with the fact 
that in the original orders given him by the Government 
before leaving the Atlantic coast, Puget Sound is not 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 117 

mentioned; it is not even hinted that he should visit 
these waters. That there was some reason for this change 
in the plans of the expedition is certain. He either had 
secret orders to this effect when he left the Atlantic 
coast, or supplementary orders reached him at Honolulu. 
It is quite certain that the facts stated in the memorial 
herein referred to, and the information furnished the 
officers of the Government by Jason Lee in the fall of 
1838 as to the conditions that prevailed north of the 
Columbia River, is responsible for the action of Captain 
Wilkes in the work of his expedition on Puget Sound. 

5. In view of the British claim to the country north 
of the Columbia River, the action of the United States 
Government herein referred to was wise and timely and 
possessed a far-reaching significance in maintaining the 
rightfulness of the claim of the United States to the 
Puget Sound country. 

By the treaty of 1846, the 49th parallel was made 
the division line between the American and the British 
possessions. While this settlement of the case was not 
what it should have been from the American stand- 
point, or what the equities of the case demanded, it was 
nevertheless a more rightful adjustment than was em- 
braced in the British claim previous to the establishment 
of the American mission settlement at Nisqually and the 
naval demonstration in Puget Sound waters. 

Mr. C. B. Bagley well says: "The treaty of 1846, 
which surrendered that part of the Pacific coast country 
north of the 49th degree, is a blot upon American 
diplomacy and the contemporaneous statesmanship of that 

The San Juan dispute was settled in favor of the 
United States in 1871 by arbitration, the Emperor of 
Germany being the arbiter. 

Digitized by 


118 The Conquerors 

First Fourth of July Celebration. 

The first Fourth of July celebration held in North 
America, west of the Rocky Mountains, was that inaugu- 
rated by Captain Wilkes and the missionaries July 5, 
1841, at Nisqually. In describing it, Captain Wilkes 

Wishing to give the crew a holiday, they were allowed to 
barbecue an ox, which the Hudson Bay Company sold me. The 
place selected was one corner of Mission Prairie. All was bustle 
and activity on the morning of the 5th, as the 4th fell on 
Sunday. The men were mustered on the deck in clean white 
frocks and trousers. It was very gratifying to me to see them 
marching, their clothes as white as snow, with their happy and 
contented faces. Two brass howitzers were carried to the prairie 
to fire the usual salutes. The procession stopped at Fort Nis- 
qually and gave three cheers, which were returned with a few 

Dr. McLoughlin was expected to join us, but, having lost 
his way, did not arrive until the next day. He dined with us 
on the man-of-war, and when he left the yards were manned 
and three cheers were given for the noble man under whose 
orders so many kindnesses had been bestowed upon us. 

There were present on this notable occasion over 
five hundred people, viz. : About sixty persons embracing 
naval officers, missionaries, and men from the Hudson 
Bay Company's trading post ; one hundred marines, and 
about four hundred Indians. Captain Charles Wilkes 
was the officer of the day. Prayer was offered by Dr. 
Richmond. The Declaration of Independence was read 
by the sergeant of marines. The Scriptures were read 
by Captain Wilkes. Two songs were sung, viz., "The 
Star-Spangled Banner" and "My Country, T is of Thee," 
tune, "America." The sergeant of marines led the sing- 
ing, and many in the audience joined in rendering these 
patriotic hymns. The oration of the day was delivered 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 119 

by Dr. Richmond. It was the first of its kind ever heard 
on the Pacific coast side of North America. 
We give a few extracts from this address : 

... We entertain the belief that the whole of this 
magnificent region of country, so rich in the bounties of nature, 
is destined to become a part of the American Republic . . . 
The time will come when these hills and valleys will be peopled 
by our enterprising countrymen, and when they will contain 
cities and farms and manufacturing establishments, and when 
the benefits of home and civil life will be enjoyed by the people. 
. . . They will assemble on the 4th of July as we have done 
to-day and renew their fidelity to the principles of liberty em- 
bodied in the 'Declaration of Independence," that we have heard 
read to-day. . . . The future years will witness wonderful 
things in the settlement, the growth, and development of the 
United States, and especially of this coast The growth may 
embrace the advance of our dominion to the frozen regions of 
the North, and south to the narrow strip of land that separates 
us from the lower half of the American continent 

In this new world there is sure to arise one of the greatest 
nations of the earth. . . . Your names and mine may not 
appear in the records, but those of our descendants will. . . . 
The illustrious founders of the American Republic declared 
against the union of Church and State; in this they did well, 
yet it is undeniably true that the world's civilization of to-day 
is inseparably connected with the religion of Christ, and it 
could not survive if the Christlife and Spirit were eliminated 
from it . . . Our mission to these children of the forest is 
to so teach them the truth of the Gospel that they shall be 
fitted for the responsibilities of intelligent Christian citizenship. 
. . . We are here also to assist in laying the foundation 
stones of a great American commonwealth on these Pacific 

This was a remarkable occasion. 

1st. It was the initial number of a series of like 
patriotic gatherings that since that time have assembled 
on the Pacific coast. 

2d. It was cosmopolitan in character. Among the 
naval officers and marines, the representatives of the 

Digitized by 


120 The Conquerors 

Hudson Bay Company, and the large number of Indians 
present, were many nationalities, races, and tribes. It 
was a diverse and mixed gathering. It is doubtless true 
that a much larger number of Indians were present than 
have ever assembled at any subsequent 4th of July cele- 
bration on the coast 

3d. The address of Dr. Richmond was worthy of 
the occasion. In the unfolding light of the intervening 
years, it is easy to see that his utterances were prophetic. 
... It should be remembered that these statements 
were made when the entire Oregon country was claimed 
by England and when the purchase of Alaska and the 
occupation of the Isthmus of Panama by the Government 
of the United States were not thought of. 

That Captain Wilkes, his officers and men, and the 
missionaries were patriotic Americans is evidenced by 
their hoisting the Stars and Stripes on the lake shore 
on the Nation's natal day and gathering beneath its 
folds to offer prayer and give patriotic expression to 
their feelings in songs and speeches. They took their 
guns and flags with them when they left the grounds, 
but the imprint of their patriotism remained on the spot 
where they had planted the emblem of their Nation's 

Mrs. America Richmond and all the rest of the 
Americans present on that memorable occasion no doubt 
shared the pleasure in giving the lake an American name, 
so they called it American Lake; and in view of the 
circumstances then, and those which followed, the name 
is worthy of being written in letters of gold. The 
name was an inspiration, and the events that occurred 
upon its shores were an expression of the patriotism of 
those who participated in them. It was also a compli- 
ment to the woman whose name and presence added 

Digitized by 





Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 121 

much interest to this remarkable occasion. The Indians 
called this beautiful body of water "Spoot Sylth," but 
since the holding of this celebration it has been known 
by its present name, "American Lake." This was the 
first 4th of July celebration held in North America west 
of the Rocky Mountains, that held at Champoeg, near 
Salem, Oregon, in 1843, being the second. Both of them 
were under the guidance of the missionaries and were 
held on or contiguous to the mission grounds of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Commemorative Celebration. 

Under the auspices of the Washington State His- 
torical Society, of which Hon. R. L. McCormick is 
President, and Prof. W. H. Gilstrap is Secretary, a cele- 
bration commemorative of that of sixty-five years ago 
was held on these historic grounds July 5, 1906. 

Through the efforts of the officers named, a monu- 
ment of appropriate design had been erected, which it 
was proposed to unveil and dedicate. 

President of the Day, Hon. R. I* McCormick. 

Song — "America." 

Invocation, Rev. Geo. F. Whitworth, D. D., President of the 
Washington Pioneer Association. 

Address— "The Revolutionary Idea," Hon. C. H. Hanford, Judge 
of the United States District Court. 

"Historical Sketch of the Event We Commemorate," Prof. W. H. 
Gilstrap, Secretary, Ferry Museum, Tacoma. 

Address — "The Second and Subsequent Fourth of July Celebra- 
tions Held in Pierce County," Hon. Thomas W. Prosh, 
former Proprietor and Editor of the Post Intelligencer, 

Oration— "Problems of the Pacific," Prof. S. B. I* Penrose, 
President Whitman College, Walla Walla. 

Talk by the only known survivor of the original celebration, 
Chief Slugamus Koquilton, of Muckelshoot, Wash. 

Digitized by 


122 The Conquerors 

He described the celebration of 1841 thus : 

They fired the big guns many times. . . . The soldiers 
marched all step as one man. . . . They carried flags, and 
had music with fifes and drums and horns. . . . They roast 
ox. . . . Big dinner. . . . Race horses. ... A great 
many Indians from country all about . . . 
Address — "Bird's-eye View of the Celebration of 1841, and the 

Events That Led Up to It," Rev. Albert Atwood, of the 

Puget Sound Conference. 

Unveiling the Monument. 
Song— "Star-Spangled Banner." 

Address — "Historical Places and Occasions," Governor Albert 
E Mead 

Two young women, Miss Zaidee E. Bonney and Miss 
Ella M. Todd, descendants of pioneers and Daughters of 
the American Revolution, assisted in these ceremonies. 

Prof. W. H. Gilstrap well says: "A more ideal spot 
for holding a Fourth of July celebration can not be found 
on the Pacific coast," and we may safely add not in the 
United States. The ground rises from the stand in front 
and on either side, giving the place an appearance not 
unlike that of a great amphitheater. 

The Washington State Historical Society will erect 
monuments at the place, at Vancouver, Wash., where 
Jason Lee preached the first Gospel sermon delivered by 
a Protestant minister west of the Cascade Mountains. 
Also at the American Mission Settlement at Nisqually. 
Also at the place where stood Captain Wilkes' observa- 
tory, and on the spot at Steilacoom, near Nisqually, where 
was erected the first Protestant Church in North America 
west of the Rocky Mountains, and north of the Columbia 
River, built by J. F. Devore, in 1853. Also a historic 
shaft that will appropriately mark the place in the vicinity 
of Nisqually where an important treaty was made with 
the Indians. 

Digitized by 




Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 128 

It is a fact worthy of note that the first Fourth of 
July celebration in the Puget Sound Country, held under 
the exclusive control of the permanent settlers, was had 
in Olympia in 1852, and Hon. D. R. Bigelow, a pioneer 
citizen of that place, and a prominent member of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, took an active interest in 
the inauguration of the movement, and delivered the 

Washington was at that time a part of Oregon. Mr. 
Bigelow urged upon his auditors the importance of taking 
immediate steps to secure the formation of an independ- 
ent territory. 

The action taken that day culminated, in 1853, in 
securing a territorial government for the country now 
known as the State of Washington. The name suggested 
at that time was "Columbia." 


This name is of Indian origin. Greater historic 
interest attaches to this place than to any other point in 
what is now the State of Washington. 

The preliminary work incident to the establishment 
of the Hudson Bay Company's trading post at Nisqually 
was begun in 1830. 

The fort and most of the other buildings were erected 
in 1833. At that time the Puget Sound Country was 
inhabited by Indians in large numbers, and an extensive 
fur trade was carried on with them. 

Mr. Samuel Clark, of Salem, Ore., says : 

The Puget Sound Agricultural Company was organized in 
1838. Its prospectus was issued by W. F. Tolmie, Forbes Barclay, 
and George B. Roberts. 

It was composed of members of the Hudson Bay 
Company, and many others. 

Digitized by 


124 The Conquerors 

The old company had charge of the fur trade, and 
the new company controlled the stores and gave special 
attention to stock raising. Herds and flocks, sleek with 
fatness, and numbered by thousands, roamed over the 
rich bunch grass lands of what is now Pierce County. 

According to a count made in the early fifties, there 
were at that time 25,000 sheep, 7,000 horn cattle, and 
many horses grazing on these plains. 

It is claimed that the holdings of the company em- 
braced several hundred thousand acres. Much of this 
land that was then prairie, and furnished excellent pasture 
for stock, is now covered with fir and other small wood 

The nutritious grass of the former years is gone. 
These lands were then known as the Nisqually plains, also 
as the American plains. The name American was given 
to them and to the lake in that vicinity because of the 
mission settlement established there in 1840 by Jason Lee. 

Mr. Ezra Meeker says: 

People now traversing what is popularly known as the 
Nisqually Plains will hardly realize that in the years ago these 
bare, gravelly prairies supplied a rich grass of exceeding fatten- 
ing quality and of sufficient quantity to fatten many thousand 
head of stock. Nearly a half million acres of this land lie 
between the Nisqually and the Puyallup Rivers, an ideal park 
of shade and open land, of rivulets and lakes, of natural roads 
and beautiful scenery.— "Pioneer Reminiscences of Paget Sound," 
page 119. 

In 1849 the Snoqualmie Indians attacked Fort 
Nisqually, and killed one white man, and wounded two 
or three others. In consequence of this the United States 
Government established a military post about six miles 
north of Fort Nisqually. They called it Fort Steilacoom. 
From the date of the establishment of the garrison, in 
1849, to Ae date of the purchase, in 1869, the United 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 125 

States Government paid a monthly rental of $50 to the 
Puget Sound Agricultural Company. 

The amount of land covered by the lease was one 
mile square, and embraced 640 acres. 

The tentative rights of the Puget Sound Agricultural 
Company were purchased in 1869 by the United States 
Government for $600,000, $350,000 of which was paid to 
the Hudson Bay Company and the remainder to the Puget 
Sound Agricultural Company. 

The military post at Fort Steilacoom was abandoned 
in 1867. 

The soldiers at this fort were transferred to Fort 
Wrangel, Alaska, immediately after its purchase by the 
United States. 

This property, with the residences and barracks 
thereon, was utilized for asylum purposes in 1871, and 
the Legislature of that year memorialized Congress to 
donate the Military Reserve, with its buildings and appur- 
tenances, to the then territory, now State of Washington. 
The transfer was subsequently made, and the present 
commodious and stately buildings of the insane asylum 
were erected on these beautiful grounds. The buildings 
were completed in 1887. 

First Reugious Service in Oregon. 

The first effort made in the Oregon country to in- 
struct the Indians in religious things, to point them God- 
ward and teach them the importance of living upright, 
godly lives, was put forth by Dr. W. E. Tolmie and Mr. 
Heron, officers of the Hudson Bay Company's trading 
post at Nisqually, beginning in 1833, with the opening 
of the post. 

He closed the company's store on Sunday, having 
previously given notice that no skins or furs would be 

Digitized by 


126 The Conquerors 

received on that day. He had some form of religious 
service. He says that at first the Indians were inclined 
to treat the subject with indifference, but afterward they 
gave respectful attention, and many of them practiced the 
teachings given. 

Mr. Heron kept a daily journal, in which he says : 

Saturday, December 9, 1833.— A large party of Indians have 
come in order to pass the Sunday with us. 

Sunday, December 10th.— The natives assembled and re- 
quested me to point out to them how it was proper for them 
to act in regard to the Divine Being. I told them that they 
should not kill each other; that they should not steal; that they 
should love one another, and pray to God, or, as they say, 
to the Great Chief who resides on high. In fact, I did my 
best to make them understand good from evil. They promised 
fair, and had their devotional dance, for, without it, they would 
think very little of what we say to them. 

Mr. Heron was, no doubt, a member of the Church 
of England, and used the Episcopal service. 

The accompanying map shows the relative points of 
interest that did so much to bring this Puget Sound 
country under American control. It gives : The position 
of the ships of Captain Wilkes; the location of his ob- 
servatory; the mission house and Richmond Hill, the 
grounds where the Fourth of July celebration was held, at 
the south end of American Lake, and the mouth of the 
Nisqually River; also the locations of the old and new 
forts of the Hudson Bay Company. The name of the 
creek that passes through this historical ground is 
"Sequallitchew." It is a beautiful stream of pure water. 

Dr. McLoughlin wrote letters to Mr. A. C. Anderson, 
at Fort Nisqually, introducing Jason Lee, in which he 
requested Mr. Anderson to open the way for Mr. Lee to 
establish a mission at Nisqually. These papers bear date 
of 1838. 

Digitized by 




Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 127 

Dr. McLoughlin also gave orders to Dr. Tolmie, 
when Dr. Richmond and those accompanying him came 
to Nisqually in 1840, to furnish him with cows in sufficient 
number to supply the mission with milk, and to use his 
kindly offices in making the missionaries comfortable. 

It was my privilege to visit sometime since at the 
hospitable home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Huggins, where 
I saw these letters. Mr. and Mrs. Huggins live in the 
commodious dwelling erected by the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany, of which he was an officer, on the ground where 
was built the second fort, about three-quarters of a mile 
from the site of the first fort built in this region. 

They were married at their present home, in 1857, 
by the Rev. G. M. Berry, at that time pastor of our Church 
in Steilacoom, and Chaplain of the United States Army 
post north of that town. 

General A. V. Kautz, Colonel McKibbon, and Lieu- 
tenant Shaaf, United States military officers stationed at 
Fort Steilacoom, were present at the wedding. 

Mr. Huggins tells of a call made by the Rev. J. F. 
DeVore at Fort Nisqually in the fall of 1853. 

The story is as follows: "It was the day before 
Thanksgiving. The visit was made in the interest of the 
building fund of the Steilacoom Church. He expressed 
gratification over the appearance of things at the fort, 
and the result of his visit. A number of turkeys in a 
field nearby attracted the attention of the reverend gen- 
tleman, and he made allusion to them. Dr. Tolmie sug- 
gested that he could have a turkey if he could catch the 
bird himself." 

Our brother was always equal to an emergency of 
this kind. He caught one of the largest turkeys in the 
flock, and thus provided for his first Thanksgiving dinner 
on the Pacific coast 

Digitized by 


The Oregon Emigration Movement 

Lee's eloquent plea for means and men 
Was answered promptly, and then 
Multitudes to the rescue came. 
While prayers as incense arose 
To heaven, for God was leading on, 
The people gave profound attention 
And turned their thoughts to emigration 
To the land beside the Western sea, 
That Jason Lee had claimed should be 
A part of our own domain. 

The purpose to establish a large and permanent 
American colony on the Pacific coast, and secure an 
American solution of the Oregon question, was formed 
in the mind of Jason Lee in the early stages of his 
mission work. 

Evidence of this fact appears: 

I. In the reports he made to the Missionary Board, 
and also in his communications to the press of that 

2d. In the formation of a Cattle Company in the 
early part of 1837. 

3d. In the determination he formed in 1837, an d 
executed in 1838 and 1839, to visit the Eastern coast and 
secure a large reinforcement for his Missionary Colony. 

4th. In his memorial to Congress, that he prepared in 
the winter of 1837 and 1838, in which the importance of 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 129 

American control in Oregon is advocated with great vigor 
and effectiveness. 

5th. In his matchless appeals in behalf of Oregon, 
before the Missionary Board, the officers of the Govern- 
ment, and the people of the United States, whereby they 
became enthusiastic supporters of his colonization move- 

6th. In the large provision he made in supplies and 
equipment for his great reinforcement in 1839. 

In all the preparations and arrangements described 
in these pages is clearly foreshadowed the fact that he 
liad in view the permanent occupancy and control of 

Mr. Lee, in his forecast of events, recognized the 
fact that while the Indian population of the country was 
decreasing, the white population would increase. That he 
anticipated this result is evident. 

In January, 1837, he wrote to the Missionary Board, 
in New York, as follows : 

I am fully of the opinion that this country will settle 
ere long, and if you can send us a few good, pious settlers 
you will aid essentially in laying a good foundation for the 
time to come and confer an incalculable benefit upon the people, 
which will be felt by generations yet unborn. Pious men we 
want and must have to superintend the labor of the country, 
but they are not to be had here at present. 

What prescience was here manifested ! Less than a 
decade justified his prophecy, and witnessed its fulfillment. 

The Christian Advocate Journal of September 2, 
1837, contains a long letter from Jason Lee to the Board 
of Managers of the Missionary Society — Mission House, 
Willamette River, March 14th. We give herewith a brief 
excerpt from this important letter: 

In our former letters we sent a request to the Board to 
send men with families, and also apparatus for making cloth, 


Digitized by 


180 The Conquerors 

if any one should come who understands the business. I most 

vehemently urge the Macedonian cry, "Come over and help us." 

Most sincerely and affectionately, 


In his statement to the Board, in defense of his col- 
onization work, he said: "For what purpose else did the 
Board send out such a large number of laymen." 

In the fall of 1838 Jason Lee attended the session of 
the Illinois Conference, held at Alton, 111., beginning Sep- 
tember 12th. 

He had with him five Indians, young men from 
Oregon. He and his Indian boys entered the city and 
the Conference unannounced. His presence and his talk 
created a wonderful amount of interest and enthusiasm. 
The business of the Conference was suspended. The ven- 
erable bishop embraced Mr. Lee. Jason Lee, his Indian 
proteges, his addresses about Oregon, the goodly land, 
whose hills are bathed in the light of the setting sun, and 
whose shores are washed by the waters of the great West- 
ern sea, absorbed attention, and were subjects of conversa- 
tion in the homes, the stores and shops, upon the streets, 
and farms, everywhere throughout that country. Jason 
Lee and Oregon occupied a prominent place in the 
thought and attention of the people. 

His addresses, descriptive of Oregon, the conditions 
that prevailed, and the great future that awaited the 
Pacific coast country, awakened intense enthusiasm. 

The pulpit and press of the country urged the 
evangelization and colonization of Oregon. 

Mr. Lee's tour in Central and Southern Illinois was 
quite in the nature of an ovation ; wherever he appeared, 
his coming excited great interest. The publicity that had 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 181 

been given, and the interest taken in his missionary tour 
in 1833 and 1834, the vast amount of advertising that had 
been given him, and his work, opened the way for the 
larger success of 1838 and 1839. 

His stay in Illinois was unexpectedly prolonged by 
the illness of one of his Indian boys. This afforded him 
an opportunity to inaugurate the emigration movement 
that accomplished so much for Oregon on a larger scale 
than would otherwise have been possible. 

He went from Alton to Peoria, where he delivered 
an address descriptive of Oregon, and immediately there- 
after the initial steps were taken in the organization of the 
first company of emigrants (not missionaries) that started 
to Oregon. 

Mr. H. H. Bancroft, the historian, says : 

The first ripple of emigration springing from Mr. Lee's 
lectures at Peoria was in the autumn of 1858. 

A company of fourteen persons was formed; their motto 
was, "Oregon or the grave." . . . The adventurous little 
band gathered before the courthouse, where prayer was offered 
in their behalf. . . . They set out from Peoria about the 
1st of May, 1839. 

The organization of this company was one of the 
contemporaneous events associated with the visit of the 
Rev. Jason Lee in the State of Illinois, and was the first 
fruits of his emigration work. 

The following are the names of some of the men who 
composed the party : T. J. Farnham, Joseph Homes, Amos 
Cook, Francis Fletcher, Sidney Smith, J. Wood, C. Wood, 
— Oakley, — Jourdan, — Blair. 

T. J. Farnham was the leader of the company. 

Though they disbanded before they reached their 
earthly Canaan, they were the advance guard of several 
small bands of emigrants and of the larger emigrations 
of 1842 and 1843, and also of those of the after years. 

Digitized by 


182 The Conquerors 

This entire emigration movement was the result of the 
work begun by Jason Lee in 1838, and continued by Dr. 
John P. Richmond, and others in that region of the 

Mr. Bancroft, speaking of Mr. Lee's correspondence 
with Hon. Caleb Cushing, referred to elsewhere in these 
pages, says : 

In the light of this correspondence with Mr. Cushing, 
Jason Lee's object in demanding so large a reinforcement of 
laymen is unmistakable. His declarations present him unequiv- 
ocally as a missionary colonizer. 

In 1838, at Lynn, Mass., the old home of Cyrus Shepard 
and Miss Downing, a society called the "Oregon Provisional 
Emigration Society" was organized. 

The intention of this association was to send to Oregon 
not less than two hundred men, with their families, to be fol- 
lowed by other divisions at intervals until thousands should 
settle in the country. . . . 

The society published a monthly paper devoted to its objects, 
called The Oregonian. 

While Mr. Cushing was in correspondence with 
Jason Lee, he received letters from this organization, and 
in reply to inquiries as to its object, was told in a letter, 
dated January 6, 1839, that it was designed, first, to civil- 
ize and Christianize the Indians, and secondly, to avail 
themselves of the advantages offered in the territory for 
agriculture, commerce, and manufactures. 

It is possible that Mr. Lee's action with the Govern- 
ment in his colonization scheme led the society to consider 
itself forestalled, or possibly it depended upon the success 
of certain measures that Mr. Lee put in motion. 

The society never sent out any persons as emigrants. 

On the 28th of January, 1839, the memorial drawn 
up before Mr. Lee left Oregon was presented to the Sen- 
ate by Senator Linn, of Missouri, and ordered printed. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 188 

On the nth of December, 1838, Mr. Linn introduced 
a bill in the Senate, authorizing the occupation of the 
Columbia, or the Oregon River country; organizing a 
territory north of latitude forty-two, and west of the 
Rocky Mountains, to be called Oregon Territory; pro- 
viding for the establishment of a fort on the Columbia, 
and the occupation of the country by the military forces of 
the United States; establishing a port of entry and re- 
quiring that the country should be held subject to the 
revenue laws of the United States. x 

On the 22d of February he made a speech in the Senate 
supporting a bill to provide protection for the citizens of the 
United States in the Oregon Territory or trading on the Columbia 

It is not necessary to follow the action of Congress further; 
the reference is made here to point out the agency of Jason 
Lee in directing that action, and the strong influence he seems 
to have wielded in Washington as well as with the Missionary 
Board. How much his suggestions, especially concerning land 
matters, molded subsequent legislation will be made evident in 
considering the action of the Government at a later period. 

A proof of the favor with which his work was regarded 
by the Cabinet is furnished by the appropriation of considerable 
money from the Secret Service fund for the charter of the 
Lausanne. — Bancroft's "History of Oregon," Vol. I, page 174. 

Hon. H. W. Scott, editor of the Oregonian, Portland, 
Ore., says: "I regard the emigration movement inaugu- 
rated by Jason Lee in Illinois and elsewhere throughout 
the country as his greatest work in behalf of Oregon." 

Mr. Bancroft says of Mr. Lee's emigration work in 
Illinois, in 1838: 

After crossing the Mississippi, he began a lecturing tour, 
drawing large audiences in the churches, where he presented 
the subject of Oregon with the ardor of an enthusiast and 
stimulated his hearers to furnish funds and men for the settle- 

1 Mr. Bancroft says that Jason Lee was the author of this bill. 

Digitized by 


184 The Conquerors 

ment of that paradise of the West. . . . The effect of his 
labors was to draw into his paradise hundreds of emigrants. 

Of the success of Mr. Lee's efforts in the colonization 
of Oregon, Mr. Bancroft says : 

There is much credit to be imputed to him as the man 
who carried to a successful completion the dream of Hall J. 
Kelley and Ewing Young. . . . 

I have termed Jason Lee a Methodist colonizer, but he 
was in reality more than that His well-directed efforts in 
behalf of his Church could not in their effects be restricted to 
that body. . . . 

The early history of the Methodist Episcopal Church on 
the Pacific coast is the history of the American colonization of 
Oregon.— if. H. Bancroft's "History of Oregon." 

Mrs. Eva Emery Dye, in her book, "Dr. McLoughlin 
and Old Oregon," says of Jason Lee's missionary tours 
referred to in these pages: "He stirred the entire 

Jason Lee made the Methodist Episcopal Churches 
of the United States recruiting stations and supply points 
for strengthening his missionary colonies in Oregon. 

Rev. A. D. Field, D. D., of Indianola, Iowa, whose 
research along the lines of Methodist history has been 
very extensive, says: "Jason Lee and the Methodist 
Church made Oregon known and brought about the 
Oregon boom, which caused that country to be settled. 
They had done that very thing for Indiana and Illinois 
years before." 

Mr. Francis Richmond, of Tyndall, S. D., writes as 
follows : 

The emigration of 1842 and 1843 was brought about by 
Jason Lee. In 1838 he spoke at many places in Illinois, where 
lived the persons who composed the larger part of the first 
companies of emigrants to go to Oregon. These places were 
Springfield, Peoria, Alton, Jacksonville, and other points in that 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 185 

country. My father, Dr. John P. Richmond, was at that time 
pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, 111. 
Of Jason Lee's visit to that region I desire to say, such was the 
magnetic influence of the man, his great eloquence, his fervent 
Christian spirit, his manly bearing, his evident sincerity, that 
wherever he went enthusiasm was kindled and an Oregon senti- 
ment was created that ripened into the emigration movement 
of 1842-43. Jason Lee was not only instrumental in awakening 
great interest in Oregon, which was followed by dis- 
cussion and the adoption of a plan of emigration, but 
he was equally successful in securing helpers for his 
mission work. At his suggestion my father, Dr. Rich- 
mond, decided to go as a missionary to Oregon. Jason Lee 
possessed great ability as an orator. He was also a tireless 
worker. To him belongs the honor of securing the emigration 
of 1842 and 1843, as can be attested by the children of the 
Hillis's, the Kelb/s, the Boyce's, the Lang^s, the Richmond's, the 
Royal's, and many other persons, descendants of the families, 
who resided in the country visited by Jason Lee and who formed 
a part of the emigration companies. Rev. Jason Lee had more 
to do with the peopling and the shaping of the destiny of 
Oregon than any other man. It is not true that Dr. Whitman 
was responsible for the formation of these companies of emi- 
grants. It is an unanswered query whether he tarried a single 
day in the country where most of these emigrants lived; he 
certainly did not stop there on his return to Oregon in 1843, 
for the emigrants of that year had started for Oregon before 
he arrived on the Missouri frontier, and he overtook them on 
the way. Many of the emigrants who went to Oregon in 1842 
and 1843 were the personal friends and acquaintances of my 
father, and the same causes that influenced my parents to go 
to Oregon also influenced their friends, acquaintances, and neigh- 
bors in that and other communities in that region to go to 

The Methodist Episcopal Churches and the homes of the 
Methodist people in that country were centers of interest touch- 
ing the Oregon question. In them the sentiment that led up 
to the emigration movement had its beginning in the work of 
Jason Lee. And through them also information was given, and 
they became the leaders in the agitation and in the emigration 
movements that followed. Francis Richmond. 

Digitized by 


l8d !The Conqueror* 

As stated elsewhere in these pages, the author of 
the foregoing paragraphs, Mr. Francis Richmond, was 
born at Nisqually, on Puget Sound, during the time that 
his father, Dr. John P. Richmond, was in charge of the 
mission established at that point by Jason Lee. The emi- 
gration of 1842 and 1843 occurred about the time that he 
was born. Dr. Richmond was intimately associated with 
the emigration movement. Next to Jason Lee, he had 
more to do with shaping the events that led up to the emi- 
gration of those years than any other man. He was 
stationed in the region of country that was the birthplace 
of the emigration referred to. He was a well-known 
leader among the hosts of Methodists in that country, 
who had become interested in Oregon through the repre- 
sentations of the Rev. Jason Lee. He spoke many times 
from the different pulpits of that country, about Oregon 
and the mission work he was preparing to enter upon. 

The Methodist itinerancy at that time meant an ex- 
tensive acquaintance with the places and the people, 
where the travels and the labors incident to his position 
would call him. His example, and his reasons for seek- 
ing to make his home in the new country on the shores 
of the great Western sea, were well known to his many 
friends and acquaintances, and to others as well through- 
out that country. Very naturally they would be influ- 
enced by his example, and deeply interested in the 
information he was able to give them of Oregon. 
Through the influences set in motion by Jason Lee, fol- 
lowed by the efforts in the same direction by Dr. Rich- 
mond, the attention and the interest of the people through- 
out that country was turned toward Oregon, and thus the 
emigration movement of those years was started, and once 
begun, large numbers followed, until the mountain trails 
that led toward Oregon were marked by the footprints 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Cotmtry 187 

of multitudes seeking home and fortune in the Pacific 
Coast country. 

The emigration of 1843 was the outgrowth of the 
emigrations that had preceded it, and was the product of 
the same causes. 

While most of the emigrants of this year came from 
Illinois, many came also from Missouri and other States. 
They joined the main body at Independence, on the Mis- 
souri frontier, and accompanied them to Jason I*ee's 
American settlement in the Willamette Valley. 

Dr. Oregon Richmond says : 

Rev. Jason Lee was frequently a guest at my father's house 
in Jacksonville, 111., in the fall of 1838, during the period of 
his great work in that State in the inauguration of the emi- 
gration movement 

He spoke eloquently of Oregon, of the desirability of the 
Pacific coast as a region in which American people should settle. 

He spoke of the beauty of the country and the advantages 
it offered to settlers. 

His addresses excited great interest, and hundreds expressed 
their desire and intention to emigrate to Oregon by way of the 
great plains. 

Companies were organized and equipped. Some of them 
started in 1839; others in 1840, 1842, and 1843. 

This emigration movement was set in motion by Jason Lee. 

Dr. Whitman came East in the early spring of 1843, and, 
after a hurried visit to Boston, started back to Oregon, and 
overtook the large emigration of that year when they were 
several hundred miles on the way. 

He joined them at the crossing of the North Platte River 
and accompanied them as far as his own mission station. He 
had nothing whatever to do with any of these emigrations, 
except to accompany those of that year a part of the way across 
the continent Oregon Richmond. 

Dr. Oregon Richmond, son of Dr. John P. Richmond, 
was born in New York, when his parents were on the 
way to Oregon in 1839, hence his name. He is a physi- 

Digitized by 


188 The Conquerors 

cian, and resides at Benton Harbor, Mich. He is the 
party referred to in this book as having been baptized on 
the steam tug Hercules, in New York Harbor, October 
9> 1839- 

The emigration movement in which Dr. Oregon 
Richmond's father participated was a matter of family 
history. He had heard accounts of it from childhood, and 
was familiar with the facts about which he writes. 

We give herewith views of the fording places on the 
North Platte (or Nebraska) River; also of the South 

These were prominent points on the transcontinental 
trail, marked by the footprints of the missionaries, the 
American fur traders, and the early emigrants to Oregon. 

This crossing is the place where Dr. Whitman over- 
took the emigrants of 1843. 

The South Pass is situated near the headwaters of 
the Platte, and on the eastern slope of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, and near the Divide. 

Dr. H. K. Hines says of the Great Reinforcement 
that left New York in 1839: 

Mr. Lee's plea was for laymen with families, that they 
might become settlers of the country. So decisively, however, 
had his representations influenced the Board, that it decided to 
send five ministers with families; and, in the several secular 
departments and as teachers, twenty-one, making thirty-one 
adults— thirty-three, including Mr. and Mrs. Lee; and eighteen 
children and one Indian boy, making fifty-two in all 

Thus in a little over five years the mission planted by 
Jason Lee with four helpers, in the autumn of 1834, had ex- 
panded into an imposing American colony. 

Rev. William McElf resh, of Jacksonville, 111., says : 

In the fall of 1838 Rev. Jason Lee visited Illinois. He 
aroused great interest and enthusiasm about Oregon. Dr. Rich- 
mond became enthused with a desire to go to Oregon, and many 

Digitized by 



Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 189 

people in this region of the country followed him to the Pacific 
coast, among whom was the family of Rev. William Royal, two 
families by the name of Ebez, another by the name of Gold- 
smith, and many others. 

My father, Rev. John McElfresh, took the place of Dr. 
Richmond and supplied the pulpit and pastorate made vacant 
by the Doctor's going to Oregon. 

Rev. William Royal was an admirer of Jason Lee, 
and named a son after this distinguished man. 

The kinship of Mr. Royal and his family to Royalty 
appears not only in the name they inherited, but in their 
spiritual birthright and affinities as well. They are the 
children of a King whose reign will be transcendently 
glorious, and perpetual as the ages. 

We give herewith a brief excerpt from a description 
of the journey of this family to Oregon. It was written 
by Rev. T. F. Royal, of the Oregon Conference (a son of 
Rev. William Royal), and was published in the Pacific 
Christian Advocate, September 5, 1906. 

Our journey was long, tedious, dreary, and perilous. Our 
train was an immense caravan. There were ten families, and a 
large number who rode pack-horses and mules. We had thir- 
teen wagons, drawn by one hundred oxen (four yoke to each 
wagon), and two horse teams. We rested and enjoyed re- 
ligious services every Sunday. There were five Methodist 
preachers in the company, so our desert pulpit was never vacant. 

On the Rocky Mountain summit, Rev. John Gray, of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, preached and administered 
the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. By arranging our wagons 
in a circle and spreading an awning between them, we had a 
commodious church, seated with ox-yokes and wagon-tongues. 
Trains back of us, seeing our notices of religious services for 
the following Sunday written on skulls and other objects by 
the wayside, often came to our encampment on Sunday morning 
to hear the preaching. Our Sunday services partook of the 
nature of the early camp-meetings. We had many fine singers 
aboard, especially among the young people, and our Sunday after- 
noons were enlivened with song and Christian fellowship. Praise 

Digitized by 


140 The Conquerors 

and prayer went up from family altars morning and evening. 
Many of the people were Church members of different denom- 
inations. A majority of them were Methodists. 

Colonel Clark E. Carr, of Galesburg, 111., in a com- 
munication to the writer, dated Galesburg, March 25, 
1906, says : 

I came to Illinois in 1850, when a boy, with my father's 
family. There was at that time much said about the great 
exodus from this State to Oregon. 

Colonel Carr was Minister to Denmark under Pres- 
ident Harrison. He is a member of the Illinois Historical 

The Christian Advocate and Journal of July 12, 
1839, contains an excerpt from the New York Journal of 

After speaking of the missions established in Oregon 
by the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, the writer says : 

The establishment of these missions will have an important 
influence in inducing an early settlement of the territory. Al- 
ready a number of men in one of the Western States have 
associated for the purpose of emigrating thither, and the time 
is near when hundreds and thousands will follow them. The 
question of organizing a territorial government and establishing 
a military post there has several times been mooted in Congress, 
and very soon the measure will be adopted 

The climate of Oregon is very mild, much more so than 
in the same latitude on the Eastern coast of America, and the 
country is healthy. Many parts of it are extremely fertile. 

It is farther west than any other portion of our country, 
and that alone is enough to commend it to the attention of our 
people. All things of heavenly origin, like the glorious sun, 
move westward. 

The foregoing article, having been published in the 
two prominent and widely-circulated journals referred to, 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Cotmtry 141 

was read by thousands of people, East, West, North and 
South, and it will be observed that the date of its pub- 
lication embraces the time of Jason Lee's second great 
missionary tour throughout the country ; that it received 
its inspiration from this source, and was the outgrowth 
of the agitation incident to the wonderful awakening 
caused by his missionary campaigns is certain. The emi- 
gration movement referred to is none other than that that 
had its origin in the work of Jason Lee and John P. Rich- 
mond, described by Dr. Oregon Richmond and Frank 

There was no other place in the West where ar- 
rangements were being made for an emigration movement 
to Oregon except at the points visited by Jason Lee. 

The creation, the progress, and the strength of the 
Oregon sentiment throughout the country, and the great 
Oregon hegira that was the outgrowth of it, afford unmis- 
takable proof of the effectiveness of the work of Jason 
Lee in colonizing Oregon, and thus saving it to the United 

No addresses of a similar character ever attracted 
the attention of the people of the United States as did 
those of Jason Lee. They created an outburst of patriotic 
enthusiasm in behalf of Oregon that swept over the coun- 
try like a great tidal wave. 

Excerpts from the Sangamon Journal, now the 

Illinois State Journal, Published in 

Springfield, III. 

In issue of February 23, 1839, is published in full the 
text of Jason Lee's memorial to Congress. 

Issue of March 9, 1839, contains an article describ- 
ing the mild climate, the fertility of the soil, and the de- 
sirableness of the Oregon country. 

Digitized by 


142 The Conquerors 

Issue of April 12, 1839, says: 


An Oregon Emigration Society has been formed in Peoria, 
and similar societies have been formed in St Charles, Mo., 
Michigan City, Iowa, and Columbus, Ohio. 

The same issue gives an account of an American 
Exploring and Trading Expedition, embracing about 140 
men, who had left St. Louis by boat for Oregon, expect- 
ing to ascend the Missouri and the Yellowstone rivers for 
a distance of about 1,500 miles, and shorten by this 
much the long Oregon trail. 

Issue of October 25, 1839, * n a l° n & article, gives an 
account of the sailing of the Lausanne. The names of 
all the missionaries and the number of children are given. 
It continues : 

This mission can not fail to form the nucleus of a colony, 
and ultimately of a State equal to those of the Atlantic coast. 

The sending of this large expedition to Oregon is an im- 
portant event, whether considered in its religious or political 

There is a strong and growing disposition among many 
persons in this region to remove to the Oregon country. 

Issue of June 10, 1842 : 


A caravan of emigrants recently left the western part of 
Missouri for Oregon, embracing fifty men, twenty-four women, 
and thirty-nine children. Should Mr. Webster succeed in secur- 
ing all the territory claimed by us west of the Rocky Mountains, 
the emigration to that country will soon be very great. 

The Illinois State Register, published in Springfield, 
111., but formerly published at Vandalia, 111., has many 
good things to say about Oregon. 

Issue of September 21, 1838, contains an article about 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Cotmtry 148 

the Pacific coast country; its mild climate, fertile soil, 
the work of the missionaries, its importance to the United 
States, and the efforts being made to secure its settle- 

Issue of May 6, 1842 : 


A meeting has been held in Platte City, Mo., in advocacy 
of the immediate occupancy and settlement of the Oregon 
country. It was urged that prompt measures be taken to secure 
the protection of the Government to the many people who were 
about to emigrate to the Pacific coast 

Issue of June 10, 1842 : 

For Oregon, the people are in motion. Emigration to 
Oregon has commenced in earnest The expedition included Dr. 
White, who goes out as Government Agent, and many of the 
most respectable families of the West are now encamped near 
Independence, Mo., preparatory for their start to Oregon on the 
13th of this month. This is the entering wedge to the tide 
of emigration which is destined to make our Western borders 
the abode of thousands of industrious and happy people. 

Senator Linn deserves and will receive the gratitude of the 
Western people for his noble efforts in behalf of those who 
are thus paving the way for their country's greatness. 

Since writing the above we have had an interview with 
Dr. White. He gives a glowing description of the Oregon 
country.— From The Platte Eagle. 

The following paragraphs are excerpts from The 
Alton Telegraph, of Alton, 111. 

In an article published October 17, 1838, the writer 

Citizens of the West, will you tamely consent that Oregon, 
one of the loveliest regions that nature ever bestowed upon man, 
should become a powerful country in the hands of England? 
If Oregon goes from us, the honor of the United States goes 
with it. Never, no, never yield. Maintain the rights of your 
country, or die bravely in her defense. 

Digitized by 


144 The Conquerors 

Issue of November 9, 1839, contains an important 
article on the value of the Oregon country, and its relation 
to the future growth and greatness of the United States. 

1. It would become a grand thoroughfare to Asia and the 
countries bordering on the Pacific Ocean. 

2. It would induce friendly intercourse between us and the 
people of other lands. 

3. It would contribute to our national honor and commercial 

4. It would be of immense advantage to the United States 
in conserving the peace of the world, by forming a ligament 
that would connect the North with the South, and the East with 
the West, so firmly that nothing but the power of Omnipotence 
could separate them or prevent the United States from becom- 
ing the leading nation of the world 

5. It would be of great advantage to the Western States, 
and cause them to increase in population and industrial develop- 
ment and make them the center of this great Republic 

I hope that our State legislators and delegation in Congress 
will seek to induce our National Government to take possession 
of Oregon. 

Issue of June 18, 1842, has an able article on the 
Oregon country ; its importance to the United States, and 
the timely appointment of Colonel Fremont to the lead- 
ership of an expedition, whose duty it was to find the best 
route through the mountain passes to Oregon. 

Issue of June 3, 1843 : 

The Liberty, Clay County, Banner says: "The expedition 
to Oregon, now rendezvoused at Westport, in Jackson County, 
will take up its line of march to Oregon on the 20th of this 
month. • • • 

"The company consists of four or five hundred emigrants. 
They probably have over one hundred and fifty wagons drawn 
by oxen, and horses for nearly every individual, and some milch 

"There are in the expedition a number of citizens of in- 
estimable value to any community, able to assist in laying the 
foundations of American life in Oregon." 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 145 
Issue of June 24, 1843, says : 


A numerously attended meeting of the citizens of Madison 
County and surrounding counties convened at the courthouse 
in Edwardsville on the 15th of June, A. D. 1843, for the pur- 
pose of appointing delegates to attend the convention to be held 
at Cincinnati on the 3d, 4th, and 5th of July next, with a view 
of adopting measures to secure the immediate occupation of the 
Oregon Territory by the Government of the United States. . . . 

The Hon. James Semple was called to the chair, and George 
T. M. Davis, Esq., was appointed secretary. 

Resolved, That this meeting adopt the declaration of Mr. 
Monroe, made in 1823, "that the American continents are not 
to be considered subject to colonization by any European power ; 
and that we consider any attempt on their part to extend their 
system to this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety." 

Resolved, That we will cordially co-operate in the call made 
by the "Oregon General Committee of Ohio" for a convention 
to be held in Cincinnati 

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be published 
in all the papers of this State. 

"Pioneer Days of Oregon History," by S. A. Clarke. 
Volume 2, Chapter LIV. The writer says: 

Joseph Holman was one of the men who left Peoria, 111., 
bound for Oregon, in the spring of 1839. He resided in Peoria 
when Rev. Jason Lee lectured there in 1838. That lecture in- 
fluenced him and Robert Shortess and others to emigrate to 
Oregon. Some of the party arrived in Vancouver the same 
day that the missionaries on the Lausanne reached that place. 

Following the Peoria party came a small company from 
Quincy, III After 1840 the stream of emigration was con- 

The first emigration of large volume was that of 1842, 
followed by a large number in 1843, and by a still greater 
number in 1845. 

These articles and facts are evidence that the people 
of Illinois and other States were interested in the Oregon 

Digitized by 


146 The Conquerors 

question, and that many of them were likely to emigrate 
there, and that Jason Lee in his tour of the country saved 
Oregon, and produced results that are immeasurable in 
the largeness and extent of their benefit to American in- 
terests on the Pacific coast, to the United States, and to 
the world. 

Abraham Lincoln said: "With public sentiment 
nothing can fail ; without it, nothing can succeed. Conse- 
quently, he who molds public sentiment goes deeper 
than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He 
makes statutes and decisions possible, or impossible, to 
be executed." 

This statement applies with tremendous force and 
truthfulness to the work of Rev. Jason Lee in behalf of 
Oregon. It was the sentiment he created in Illinois that 
made that region of country the birthplace, the recruiting 
station, the storm-center, and the battle-ground of the 
Oregon emigration movement. 

It also enabled him to kindle missionary fires 
throughout the United States, the light of which shone 
out over the weary wastes of the continent, and touched 
the shores of the Pacific ; lifted the curtains of night from 
Oregon's moral and political horizon, and opened the gates 
of the morning to the incoming of the Gospel, and to 
American occupancy and supremacy on the western coast 
of North America. * 

t The colonisation ot Oregon was pre-eminently a Methodist measure and 
movement. The facts in the case, as given herewith, demonstrate the correctness 
of this statement. 

Digitized by 


The Formation of a Provisional Government 

Under the pressure of absolute necessity, the mis- 
sionaries were obliged to secure for themselves independ- 
ence from the Hudson Bay Company. With the coming of 
the Great Reinforcement, the American colonists were 
furnished with the facilities for taking care of themselves, 
and also for supplying the wants of American emigrants 
who desired to settle among them. They provided them- 
selves with mills and stores, farms and stock, and farming 
utensils. They erected houses and barns, and buildings 
for the storage of their products. Previous to this time 
the wheeled vehicles used in the mission were manufac- 
tured by the missionaries themselves. The wheels were 
made from cuts of logs; the axles from fir poles; the 
i opes and cords used in their work were made from raw 
hide. These wagons were constructed with an axe, and 
auger, and a drawing knife. They served a good purpose 
on the level lands and on the prairies. 

The event which, more than any other one thing, or 
many things that made Oregon an American common- 
wealth, was the enlargement of the mission herein referred 
to, and the facilities furnished thereby, for the establish- 
ment of a permanent, self-supporting American com- 

Before the end of 1840 it was known throughout the 
Atlantic coast that Oregon was likely to become one of 
the great commonwealths of the United States. At the 


Digitized by 


148 The Conquerors 

close of this year there were eighty-six adults connected 
with Jason Lee's mission, and twenty-eight Americans 
outside of the mission, 114 in all. 

In 1838 several Catholic missionaries arrived. There 
were also in the country a number of former employees of 
the Hudson Bay Company, who affiliated with their old 

There were two sentiments among the people, one 
being American and the other British. The prize was the 
country itself. The issue was, should it be American or 
British. Gauged by results, it was the mightiest conflict 
of the century. 

On the one side was the Hudson Bay Company and 
the missionaries and friends of the Catholic Church. On 
the other side, the missionaries and friends of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church and the American settlers. 

A meeting was called at the Mission House, Cham- 
poeg, February 7, 1841. Rev. Jason Lee presided, and 
Rev. Gustavus Hines was chosen secretary. Various 
plans were suggested by which it was hoped that some 
form of government could be agreed upon. This was 
the first meeting of the kind held in Oregon. Another 
meeting was held on the 17th of February, at the Mission 
House, for the same purpose. Rev. David Leslie presided, 
and Rev. Gustavus Hines and Sidney Smith acted as sec- 
retaries, but, owing to differences of opinion, but little 
was accomplished. These differences were, for the most 
part, born of a desire on the one hand to bring the country 
tinder British control, and a determined purpose on the 
other side to secure American supremacy. The tension 
between these rival factions became more intense as the 
days went by. A large meeting, embracing most of the 
male population of the Willamette Valley, was held on the 
first Monday in March, 1843, to consider the subject of 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 149 

protection to their herds and flocks. This was called the 
"Wolf Meeting." 

The object of this meeting primarily may have been 
as indicated in the name given it. The subject, however, 
that was uppermost in the minds of the people came up ; 
like Banquo's ghost, it would not down, and they talked 
less about the wolves than they did about the proposed 
effort to establish a local government for Oregon. 

Many of the preliminary meetings called for the pur- 
pose of making arrangements for the formation of a Pro- 
visional Government were held in the warehouse of the 
Methodist Mission, at Willamette Falls (Oregon City) ; 
it was a frame building, sixteen by thirty feet in size. Mr. 
Samuel Clark, of Salem, one of Oregon's most reliable 
historians, says: "This building became the legislative 
chamber of the American colonists ; here our first legis- 
lators met and studied the art of government for Oregon." 
Gradually it came to be believed that the American senti- 
ment was slightly stronger than the other. This ques- 
tion, at the instigation of the Hudson Bay Company, came 
up for discussion : 

Resolved, That it is expedient for the settlers of the coast 
to organize an independent government 

The resolution carried. Its purpose was to delay, 
confuse, circumvent, and, as far as possible, destroy the 
hopes and the plans of the missionaries. 

George Abernethy, one of the prominent officers of 
the mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was equal 
to the emergency in this critical and pivotal period in the 
history of Oregon. He offered the following resolution 
for discussion the next week: 

Resolved, That if the United States extends its jurisdiction 
over the country in the next four years, it will not be expedient 
to form an independent government 

Digitized by 


160 The Conquerors 

The resolution was adopted, and it was wonderfully 
effective in the accomplishment of its purpose. 

1st. It pledged the people against the organization of 
an independent Government. 

2d. It indicated the faith of the Americans in the 
victory that would come to them in the final determination 
of this question. 

3d. It also opened the way for the adoption of any 
plan that would meet the exigencies of the case, especially 
if it looked toward American supremacy. 

It should be borne in mind that the people were in 
an agitated condition that bordered on anarchy, and some 
form of government was an imperative necessity. 

There were three forms of opinion among the people : 

1st. That led by the Hudson Bay Company in behalf 
of an "Independent Government" 

2d. A provisional government, looking to the early 
extension of the authority of the United States over the 

3d. A continuation of the condition that then pre- 
vailed until the United States should assume control over 
the country. 

The American sentiment was divided between the sec- 
ond and third alternatives. Mr. Abernethy's resolution 
unified, and thus greatly strengthened, the American side 
of the case. It also made the fact more plain that some 
form of organized government must be had immediately. 

The only question was : Should it be independent or 

It was recognized by all that an independent govern- 
ment (as they were pleased to call it) was the entering 
wedge to British rule, and that a Provisional Government 
was a temporary affair, and intended to be the beginning 
of American control. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 151 

Dr. H. K. Hines says : 

The larger number of the men composing the Oregon 
settlement met on the 2d day of May, 1843, at Champoeg, at 
the Mission House. Dr. Ira L. Babcock, of the Methodist 
Mission, was elected chairman, and G. W. LeBreton secretary. 
A committee of twelve, which had been appointed at a previous 
meeting, made a report in favor of organizing a Provisional 
Government; a motion to accept it was made. The friends of 
the British contention, embracing the representatives of the 
Hudson Bay Company and the members of the Catholic Mission, 
under the leadership of Rev. F. N. Blanchet, voted "No," and 
the motion to accept the report was lost 

After some hesitation and feeling of uncertainty, another 
motion was made that would bring the question to a direct 
vote. At this critical juncture, Joseph Meek stepped out of the 
crowd and shouted, "All who are in favor of the report of 
the committee and of organization, follow me." The Americans 
were quickly in line by his side. The opposition, led by Rev. 
Mr. Blanchet, filed slowly to the left. The lines were carefully 
counted; fifty-two stood with Meek and fifty with Blanchet. 
The result of the count was received with shouts and expres- 
sions of joy by the Americans. 

This was the most important vote ever taken in Oregon 
and was just as effective in determining the future status of 
the country as if one thousand votes had been cast 

Promptly the chairman called the meeting to order again; 
the defeated party withdrew, and the meeting was in the hands 
of its friends. They immediately entered upon the preliminary 
action necessary to the formation of a Provisional Government, 
and provided for the election of a judge with probate powers, 
a clerk of the court, a sheriff, three magistrates, three constables, 
and a treasurer. It also appointed a legislative committee of 
nine. These places were filled by competent and patriotic men, 
as follows: A. E. Wilson, supreme judge; G. W. LeBreton, 
clerk of the court ; Joseph Meek, sheriff ; W. H. Wilson, treas- 
urer; and Messrs. D. Hill, Robert Shortess, Robert Newell, 
Alanson Beers, T. J. Hubbard, W. H. Gray, J. O. Neil, R. 
Moore, and William Dougherty, Legislative Committee. 

This meeting adjourned to the 5th day of July, at 
which time the Legislative Committee reported on a form 
of organization. 

Digitized by 


152 T?he Conquerors 

They also ratified the action taken at the preliminary 
meeting of May 2d. The date of this meeting was fixed 
for July 5th, in order that the people might gather on the 
4th of July and celebrate the anniversary of American In- 
dependence, which celebration, it was believed, would be 
helpful to the important work of the following day. 

The celebration and the meeting on the 5th were oc- 
casions of great interest and enthusiasm. Rev. Gustavus 
Hines delivered an oration on the 4th, and presided at 
the meeting on the 5th. A number of those who opposed 
an organization at the preceding meeting were present on 
this occasion, and announced their cordial support of the 
objects sought to be obtained by the Americans. 

The opposition were conspicuous for their absence. 
They publicly asserted, however, that they would not sub- 
mit to the authority of the Provisional Government, and 
sent communications to the leading Americans to that 
effect; also, that they were abundantly able to defend 
themselves, etc. With affairs in this attitude, Mr. Hines 
announced that the report of the Legislative Committee 
was in order ; it was read by Mr. LeBreton. It consisted 
of an outline of what were termed organic laws, prefaced 
by the following preamble : 

We, the people of Oregon Territory, for the purpose of 
mutual protection, and to secure peace and prosperity among our- 
selves, agree to adopt the following laws and regulations until 
such time as the United States of America extend their juris- 
diction over us. 

The report of the Committee was adopted, and a 
Sub-legislative Committee of three were elected by ballot. 
Alanson Beers, David Hill, and Joseph Gale were chosen. 

Thus a Provisional Government for Oregon, thor- 
oughly American in character, and which nothing short 
of military force could overthrow, became an actuality. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 158 

As the establishing of the American Missionary Col- 
ony in 1834, and the coming of the Great Missionary 
Reinforcement in 1840 were the chief events in the forma- 
tive and constructive period of American life, and the 
founding of American institutions in Oregon, so the or- 
ganization of the Provisional Government was the crown- 
ing event that secured American supremacy in Oregon. 

Opposition and threats were employed in the hope 
that something might transpire that would change the for- 
bidding aspects of the case, from the viewpoint of those 
who championed the British contention; but the American 
colonists were immovable and persistent in their purpose ; 
they stood up manfully in defense of the American claim, 
and sent a memorial to Congress, asking for protection, 
setting forth existing conditions, and urging immediate 
action on the part of the Government. 

The enthusiasm and the determination of the men 
who composed this gathering was irresistible. It had in 
it the swing of victory, and the promise of conquest. 

The Hudson Bay Company was in open hostility to 
the American claim, and the Indian population had been 
brought into sympathy with them, so that there were 
grave apprehensions of a general uprising for the exter- 
mination of the Americans. 

The contention for national control had reached its 
climax. The hour for final decision had come. It was the 
crucial period. In point of time it was the pivotal hour, 
when, so far as the people of this coast were concerned, 
the national status of Oregon should be decided. 

The attitude of the Hudson Bay Company towards 
the missions had greatly changed from what it was in 
1834, when Jason Lee began his work. Then it was one 
of active friendship and support. 

Their influence was now against the Protestant and 

Digitized by 


154 The Conquerors 

the American cause, and in favor of the anti- American 
sentiment of the country. 

These causes combined to make this period one of 
the most threatening and critical through which the mis- 
sions and the people representing American ideas had 
passed. Considering the small number of American peo- 
ple on the coast, together with the much larger number 
of Indians, at that time, and the intense jealousy and ex- 
citement that prevailed, the threatening attitude of the 
Indians east of the mountains, and all over the coast, it 
seems almost miraculous that all the Americans were not 
swept from the face of the earth. 

The establishment of the Provisional Government 
was the prelude to American supremacy, and was so re- 
garded by both parties to the contest. This is evident in 
the fact that, immediately thereafter, the opposition to 
American control began to relax, and while those who 
advocated the British side of the case continued to de- 
nounce the missionaries for the action they had taken to 
Americanize the country, they nevertheless manifested a 
willingness to submit to the regulations and requirements 
of the Provisional Government. 

The local government herein referred to was estab- 
lished almost entirely by the missionaries of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, the only exception being that of the 
helpful co-operation of the American settlers who lived 
in the vicinity of the mission. 

It should be observed that the missionary history of 
the Pacific Northwest was also its civil history. This was 
so from necessity. The home, the family, and the com- 
munity life of the American population of Oregon, up to 
the autumn of 1843, was embraced in the mission settle- 
ments. They were the only organized and potential force 
that could determine and settle the Oregon question. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 155 

The Hudson Bay Company was seeking to make 
good its claim to the ownership of Oregon. Hence, 
the imperative necessity for the prompt, vigorous, and ef- 
fective action of the missionaries in securing control of 
the country, by establishing an American Government, 
and settling the Oregon question in favor of the American 
contention. Not to have done this would have been trea- 
son on the part of the Americans, and fatally imperiled 
American interests in Oregon. 

Dr. H. K. Hines, in his book, "Missionary History of 
the Pacific Northwest," says : 

When this primary meeting of the loyal citizens of Oregon 
adjourned on the evening of the 5th of July, 1843, Oregon had 
passed from a condition where every man was a law unto him- 
self into that of an organized political commonwealth. This 
action was bold and might be called revolutionary, as Oregon 
was claimed alike by Great Britain and the United States. As 
against the claim of Great Britain, it approached rebellion. The 
people of Oregon had decided for themselves where their al- 
legiance lay. That decision did more than any one thing or a 
dozen things to decide the "Oregon Question," and if it is jus- 
tifiable to claim for any man, or any fact, the glory of "saving 
Oregon" to the United States, it must lay to the credit of the 
men whose presence and work in the country, and whose intense 
Americanism always and everywhere displayed, had made the 
organization of the "Provisional Government" a possibility. The 
Government thus ordained was so wisely administered that op- 
position to it gradually subsided. 

From the foregoing facts, it is evident that the Gov- 
ernment founded by the missionaries had in it so many 
elements of moral excellency, and adaptation to the wants 
of the people, and the laws they made were so wholesome 
and just, and were administered with such fidelity and 
fairness, that opposition was disarmed, and the people fell 
in line in their recognition of the claim of the local Gov- 
ernment, and in their acknowledgment of American 

Digitized by 


156 The Conquerors 

At an election held June 3, 1845, Hon. George Aber- 
nethy, a member of the Methodist Mission, and a man of 
sterling character, was elected governor. He held that 
position until March, 1849, when he was succeeded by 
General Joseph Lane. Previous to the election of Mr. 
Abernethy, the administration of the affairs of the gov- 
ernment was vested in a legislative committee. 

The Provisional Government of Oregon was an American 
Government. California had her "Bear Flag;" Texas had her 
"Lone Star Flag," but Oregon never marched under any other 
banner than the "Stars and Stripest" From the time that Jason 
Lee stepped over the ridge of the continent, on the 15th day of 
June, 1834, and began his march to the Western sea, her mis- 
sionaries, her emigrants, and her mountaineers had sung to the 
winds, to her mountains, and her illimitable seas, 

"The Star-Spangled Banner forever shall wave 
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave." 

And it is not possible to evade the historic conclusion reached 
by one of the most painstaking students of the story of mis- 
sionary work on the Northwest coast, that to the Methodist 
missionaries and their friends in Washington and elsewhere was 
due the Americanization of the Willamette Valley and the es- 
tablishment of a Provisional Government with all that it im- 
plied. Its implication and its sure prophecy was the treaty of 
1846 between the United States and Great Britain, under which 
the latter withdrew her flag from a large part of the territory 
of the "Old Oregon," and the Stars and Stripes waved in un- 
challenged authority over what is now the grandest, most re- 
sourceful, most patriotic, and most promising part of our na- 
tional domain. 

This empire of the West faces the Orient, and here are 
the forces that will renew the great histories of the olden time, 
under the loftier inspirations of the Anglo-Saxon spirit that so 
splendidly dominates the "Ultimate West."— Dr. H. K. Hines's 
"Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest." 

1 The Provisional Government of Oregon was made possible and certain by 
the vigorous American settlement and sentiment that created it. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 157 

There were five acts in the drama of events that se- 
cured American supremacy in Oregon, that were pre- 
eminent for their importance and decisive in their 
effectiveness. Like five great mountain peaks, they rise 
in sublime and stately grandeur above the lesser events 
that surrounded them. 

The first was the establishment of the American set- 
tlement in the Willamette Valley by Jason Lee, in 1834. 

The second was the coming of the great Missionary 
Reinforcement in 1840. 

The third was the coming of the emigrants of 1842. 

The fourth was the formation of a Provisional Gov- 
ernment in 1843. 

The fifth was the creation of an Oregon sentiment 
throughout the United States that was overwhelming and 

By the first act the foundations of American institu- 
tions were laid in Oregon. 

By the second act the American colonists were freed 
from their former dependence upon the Hudson Bay 
Company, and were furnished with facilities for becoming 
an independent American community. 

By the third act the missionary colonists were suf- 
ficiently reinforced to make good their claim of American 

By the fourth act they assumed and ever afterward 
maintained control of Oregon, and linked themselves in 
bonds of national kinship and destiny to the United 

By the fifth act the needs of the missionary settle- 
ments were supplied, the colonization of Oregon effected, 
and an American solution of the Oregon question made 
absolutely certain. 

The Hudson Bay Company, through the settlement 

Digitized by 


158 The Conquerors 

they had made under the joint occupancy treaty, believed 
that their position was invincible, and that their domi- 
nance of the country would be perpetual. The acts re- 
ferred to broke their hold upon the southern half of the 
old Oregon country, and made all the work that had been 
done in behalf of the American claim operative, effective, 
and successful. They mark the five distinctive, progress- 
ive, and constructive stages in the effort to secure Amer- 
ican supremacy in Oregon. They afford clear and con- 
vincing proof of the manner in which the missionaries 
outstripped their rivals in the promptness and effective- 
ness of their work. 

The outcome of these measures were very objection- 
able to the Hudson Bay Company, and no wonder, for 
they were a proclamation to the world of the independence 
of the American colony. They signified the displacement 
of the Hudson Bay Company in the conduct of Oregon 
affairs. They were the prelude to the installation of a 
new order of things. If it is claimed, at that date, July 
5, 1843, ^t the United States Government had not taken 
actual possession of the country by hoisting the American 
flag over it, my answer is, they could not do this, the 
country was open to joint occupancy. 

The officers of the Government had given proof of 
their interest in the efforts of Mr. Lee in his work of 
colonization in Oregon ; but to have sent a military force 
to take possession of it would have been in contravention 
of the treaty of joint occupancy, and equivalent to a re- 
pudiation of the terms of that agreement. When the mis- 
sionaries and the settlers at the Mission Headquarters, 
near Salem, made proclamation to the world that they had 
unfurled the flag of the United States in Oregon, and sent 
word to that effect to the Government in Washington, the 
officers could not have been otherwise than pleased over 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 159 

this important information. It was in line with the finan- 
cial assistance they had granted for the strengthening of 
this American colony. It was in keeping with all that 
the Government had done in outfitting expeditions, and 
sending them to the coast. It was in accord with 
the ultimatum made by the United States to England. It 
was doing what the Government wanted done, without 
taking the initiative and doing the work itself. If the 
National Government had done this it would have been 
interpreted as an act of war, but, the colonists having 
done it, the way was opened for the United States to take 
possession of the country with less liability to trouble 
than to have done it in any other way. 

By the acts herein referred to, the American claim 
was not only placed in the foreground as compared with 
that of England, but it was like the case of the man whose 
claim is not only the best, but is also in actual possession 
of the coveted treasure. 

When the vote was taken, on the 2d of May, 1843, 
there was great rejoicing among the American colonists 
over the result, because of its effect in the speedy and 
certain settlement of the Oregon question. 

They recognized the fact that they did not have to 
wait for the further enlargement of the American settle- 
ment to establish a Provisional Government, but that they 
could secure its formation immediately, and thus relieve 
the tension that was becoming well nigh unbearable. 

Dr. McLoughun. 

Dr. McLoughlin, to whom reference has been made 
in the preceding pages, was a noble man, a prince among 
the great and good men of his day. His acts of kindness 
to the missionaries were many, the spirit he manifested 

Digitized by 


160 The Conquerors 

toward them was that of a brother. His treatment of the 
Indian was just, humane, and fatherly. The duties he 
owed to the Hudson Bay Company were discharged with 
great capability and faithfulness. 

Mrs. Eva Emery Dye, in her book, 'Dr. McLoughlin 
and Old Oregon," has many good things to say about this 
eminent man, and very properly commends him for his re- 
peated acts of kindness to the missionaries and for his 
noble qualities of mind and heart. She deplores the fact 
that he was misunderstood and misrepresented. She says : 
"Distrusted by England because he had befriended Amer- 
icans, and distrusted by Americans because of his friend- 
ship for England, he exclaimed: "In my old age, I find 
myself a man without a country/ " 

Mrs. Dye also says: "Because of his friendliness to 
the missionaries, he was obliged to resign his position as 
head of the Hudson Bay Company, and thereby sacrificed 
a personal income of $12,000 per annum." 

She calls him the father of Oregon. If it is meant 
by this that American institutions on the Pacific coast 
had their birth in his efforts, and that, as a result thereof, 
American supremacy was secured in Oregon, then the 
name father is a misnomer, and, as used in this case, is 
incorrect, and wholly at variance with the facts in the 
case, for while it is true that he manifested a spirit of 
kindness to the missionaries that was remarkable for its 
helpfulness and its brotherliness, it is also true that he 
was not in sympathy with the effort to establish American 
supremacy in Oregon ; on the contrary, he favored British 
control, and when the agitation in behalf of a provisional 
government assumed such proportions that it threatened 
the overthrow of the Hudson Bay Company, he brought 
the great weight of his personal and official influence to 
bear against it, and, in view of this fact, the success of the 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 161 

missionaries in establishing a provisional government is 
the more remarkable. 

He favored an independent government, and sought 
to establish it ; this was recognized by all classes of people 
as an entering wedge to permanent British control in 

His executive ability, his wisdom of management, 
and his fidelity to duty is evidenced in two important 

ist. In this, that the Hudson Bay Company made 
many millions of dollars in Oregon. 

2d. That they had thoroughly intrenched themselves 
in the country, and dominated it with a weight of influ- 
ence and success that led them to believe that their posi- 
tion was quite impregnable, and that it would be perma- 

In his action in this matter is clearly revealed his 
nobility of character. 

ist By sustaining the claim of Great Britain is 
proved his loyalty to his country, thereby disproving the 
statement made against him in England, and by the 
Hudson Bay Company, that he was disloyal to his Gov- 
ernment and betrayed it into the hands of the Ameri- 

2d. In the largeness of his hospitality and helpful- 
ness to the American missionaries and to the Indians is 
shown his intent and purpose; these acts prove that the 
motives that inspired his benevolence were unselfish, ideal, 
and Christlike. He was not laboring to establish an 
American regime in Oregon. 

3d. In his advocacy of the form of local government 
herein referred to is evidenced his loyalty to England. 

Dr. H. K. Hines, in his book, "Missionary History of 
the Pacific Northwest," says of Dr. McLoughlin: "He 

Digitized by 


162 The Conquerors 

was a very intelligent and able man, a giant both in body 
and mind." 

Dr. John McLoughlin was born October 19, 1784, 
near Quebec, Canada. His father, John McLoughlin, was 
born in Ireland. Dr. McLoughlin was educated in Can- 
ada and Scotland. 

He died September 3, 1857, at Oregon City. 

Judge J. C. Moreland, in an article published in the 
Pacific Christian Advocate of June 20, 1906, says of Dr. 
McLoughlin's attitude toward the Provisional Govern- 
ment: "Dr. McLoughlin, and all the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany's interests, were against it, and continued against it 
so long as there was any possibility of this country being 
declared British territory. He was in no sense the 'Father 
of Oregon/ He wanted to father a British child, but the 
attempt was a failure." 

The facts in the case prove the correctness of the 
statement of Judge Moreland. 

The action of the Hudson Bay Company in making 
sale of lands or leasing them, and exercising the preroga- 
tives of ownership of the Oregon country, referred to in 
the memorial presented to the Congress of the United 
States by David Leslie and others, as given elsewhere in 
these pages, was the outgrowth of the policy of Dr. Mc- 
Loughlin. It would have been impossible for this move- 
ment to strengthen and perpetuate the dominance of the 
Hudson Bay Company, to have attained the alarming pro- 
portions indicated by the memorialists, without his active 
support and the exercise of the almost kingly authority 
vested in him as the manager of that company. 

The facts contained in this book give evidence of the 
strong personal friendship that existed between Mr. Lee 
and Dr. McLoughlin, yet these men were the representa- 
tives of the rival claimants for national supremacy in the 
old Oregon country. 

Digitized by 




Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 168 

Dr. McLoughlin could easily have put such impedi- 
ments in the way of Mr. Lee as would have rendered his 
work a failure, and his stay in the country impossible. 
Thus the greatness of his character and the genuineness 
of his kindness is seen, not only in what he did do, but 
also in what he did not do. 

That there were no serious collisions between the 
parties struggling for national control was due largely to 
the fact that the noble spirits of Jason Lee and Dr. Mc- 
Loughlin controlled in the case, and secured a peaceful 

Sir James Douglass, Dr. W. F. Tolmie, Mr. A. C. 
Anderson, P. S. Ogden, Archibald McDonald, John 
Work, Edward Huggins, and many other officers of the 
Hudson Bay Company were men of excellent character. 
The success of the company financially was due in a large 
degree to the effective management of the company's 
affairs by its officers. 

A Great Change Was Taking Pi^ace. 

A wonderful transition period in the life of the 
American Missionary Colony had its beginning in 1840. 
It marked a new era, and the birth of decisive and perma- 
nent conditions in the growth and development of the 
American settlement. New and important, because there 
were in it so many facts and incidents indicating a change 
in the political status of the Oregon question. This was 
the logical outgrowth of the coming of the Great Rein- 
forcement and the creation of an overwhelming public 
sentiment in behalf of Oregon throughout the country, 
and the results of this enlargement pointed with a cer- 
tainty that was irresistible to the triumph of the American 

Digitized by 


164 The Conquerors 

The settler's cabin was taking the place of the Indian 
wigwam, and the conditions and appliances of civilized 
life were overthrowing the pagan customs of former cen- 
turies. Up to 1840 it had been an Indian mission, with 
the missionaries depending upon the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany for the supplies they were obliged to purchase for 
their subsistence. After that date, the mission assumed 
the character of an independent and self-sustaining 
American community, possessing elements of growth and 
permanency, and the event which contributed most to this 
result, and made it possible, was the enlargement herein 
referred to. 

The marvelous changes that took place in the person- 
nel of the population, and also in the political status of 
Oregon, from 1834 to 1840, were remarkable for their 
suddenness, and for their far-reaching significance. 

In less than ten years after Jason Lee had established 
his mission in Oregon, the race that had occupied and 
dominated the country for ages, and were here in large 
numbers, had well nigh disappeared ; another race had en- 
tered the arena and laid the foundations of empire, pre- 
paratory not only to the dominance of Oregon, but also to 
the planting of their institutions in other lands, and giving 
to the world a better and larger conception of human 
brotherhood than it had before. 

Dr. H. K. Hines says: 

From the spring of 1838 to that of 1843 changes that hardly 
have a parallel in the history of races had occurred in the Wil- 
lamette Valley. 

The Indian race had practically melted away. 

Those for whom Mr. Lee and his co-workers had come to 
labor, and if need be die, had themselves died, and left him and 
his helpers standing in the ashes of the harvest field swept as 
by fire. The changes were sudden and mighty. The vast num- 
ber of natives seen by Lewis and Clark along the shores of the 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 165 

Columbia and the Willamette had disappeared before the gleam 
of the coming civilization, like frost before the rising sua That 
they were here, that they had been here for ages, is incontestable. 
The evidences were everywhere. The deposits of their an- 
cient camps, huge shell heaps, the refuse of their kitchens, pestles 
and mortars, arrowheads and other stone implements found 
everywhere, from the sea coast to mountain peaks, on bays and 
in deep forests overgrown by trees centuries old, in alluvial banks 
that it took ages for rivers and seas to build, are among the in- 
dubitable records that demonstrate it These nations and tribes 
were innumerable and distinctly marked in mental and physical 
characteristics and tongues. Without a language that could be 
made the vehicle of a literature, they were., as a body, incom- 
petent to receive and assimilate mentally and spiritually a let- 
tered faith. And with the outgoing of the Indians was the in- 
coming of a people of Anglo-Saxon origin; they came to in- 
augurate a system that would be alike helpful to the Indians, to 
themselves, and to all who might desire to join them in their 
efforts for the evangelization and the American conquest of 

First Flour Mill. 

The machinery for the flour mill built by the mission- 
aries did not at first work as perfectly as its projectors 
had hoped; these defects, however, were soon remedied. 
Of this, Mr. Bancroft, the historian, says : 

The sagacious superintendent had feared this result, from 
the employment of preacher mechanics, and had insisted on 
bringing out a majority of laymen, but the Board had thought 
that preachers were wanted for the missions, while the idea of 
Jason Lee was material development in connection with his mis- 
sionary work. 

The first church in North America west of the Rocky 
Mountains was built at Willamette Falls (Oregon City), 
in 1843. Action looking to the erection of this building, 
and taking subscriptions to meet the cost, was begun in 

Mr. Lee placed this work in the hands of Rev. A. F. 

Digitized by 


166 The Conquerors 

George Abernethy, who soon thereafter was chosen 
as the first Governor of Oregon, took great interest in its 

The preamble to the subscription is in the handwrit- 
ing of Rev. A. F. Waller, and is as follows : 

Willamette Falls, December 21, 1842. We, the subscrib- 
ers, do hereby agree to pay on demand the several sums set 
opposite our names for the purpose of erecting a chapel for the 
use of the Methodist Episcopal Church, said house or chapel to 
be built as soon as possible, and held in trust for said Methodist 
Episcopal Church by a committee of five, to be elected annually 
by the society and stated hearers of the congregation at a meet- 
ing for that purpose, until a lawful corporation can be had and 
proper trustees appointed to hold said house and premises. Said 
committee for the present year to be : George Abernethy, Robert 
Shortess, David Carter, A F. Waller, and C. Rogers, who will 
have charge of the building of said chapel, and to whom sub- 
scriptions shall be paid, said house to be of frame, and of such 
size as the committee shall judge proper, considering the amount 
of subscription. 

George Abernathy, $100; John Force, $100; Jason Lee, $50; 
A. F. Waller, $50; L. H. Judson, $50; Elijah White, $50; J. U 
Parish, $50; David Leslie, $50; W. H. Wilson, $50; A. E .Wilson, 
$30; Robert Shortess, $30; James R. Robb, $30; S. Smith, $25; 
W. H. Gray, $25; W. H. Pheiffer, $25; John McCard, $20; L. J. 
Hubbard, $20; Wm. C. Sutton, $20; G. W. LeBreton, $20; S. C. 
Pomeroy, $12; James O'Neil, $10; Wm. Perry, $10; J. E. Long, 
$10; N. R. Stoughton, $10; A. Beers, $10; John Dabenbis, three 
days' work ; Joseph Yatter, two days' work. 

The work was entered upon immediately, under the 
direction of the Committee of Five. The movement for 
the erection of this church, and that at Chemekete for the 
building of the Oregon Institute, and the coming of emi- 
grants of that year under Dr. White, made 1842 a very 
important year in the history of Oregon. The mills at 
Chemekete, begun in 1840, were in successful operation. 
Permanent American homes in large numbers were being 

Digitized by 




Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 167 

established. These were pivotal and determining events in 
securing and hastening American supremacy in the Ore- 
gon country. This rapid increase in numbers, strength, 
and influence made the American solution of the Oregon 
question in the near future inevitable. 

First Educational Institution. 

The first school on the western shores of North Amer- 
ica was that established by Rev. Jason Lee in the Amer- 
ican Mission Settlement, ten miles north of Salem, Ore., 
in 1834. 

The pupils were Indians. Cyrus Shepard was placed 
in charge of this department of the mission work. He 
was a noble man, a fine scholar, a devoted Christian, and 
a true missionary. A log cabin, twenty by thirty feet in 
size, was erected and used for school and other pur- 
poses, and was known as the Mission House. On the 
Lausanne, the Mayflower of the Pacific coast, October 
25, 1839, the centennial anniversary of Methodism was 
observed with appropriate services, under the guidance of 
Jason Lee. 

Rev. Gustavus Hines preached the centennial sermon, 
and a collection of $650 was taken toward establishing a 
school for white children in Oregon. 

January 17, 1842, a meeting was held at Jason Lee's 
residence at Chemekete (Salem) to consider the matter of 
providing facilities for the education of white children 
in the Oregon country. 

As a result of this gathering a call was made for an- 
other meeting in February following at the Mission 

At this second meeting, it was determined to establish 
a school that would be the beginning of a college, and that 

Digitized by 


168 The Conquerors 

it should be called "The Oregon Institute." The follow- 
ing persons were elected trustees : Jason Lee, David Les- 
lie, Gustavus Hines, J. L. Parish, L. H. Judson, George 
Abernathy, Alanson Beers, H. Campbell, and Dr. Ira L. 

This action was not taken by the mission, as such, but 
by the members of the mission, in their individual capac- 
ity as men and citizens, in view of a great and im- 
perative need of the country as a rapidly forming civic 

If it appears, as it certainly does, that it was the ex- 
clusive action of the members of the Methodist Mission 
Settlement, it was simply because at that time, early in 
1842, this mission comprised nearly all the American cit- 
izens of the country. 

The location decided upon was on Wallace Prairie, 
about two and one-half miles below where Salem now 
stands. In 1844 this property was sold, and Mr. Lee's 
Indian Manual Labor School building was purchased. 
This building was erected in 1842, and was located on 
what is now the campus of the Willamette University. 

It was opened in its new relation to the educational 
work of Oregon, August 16, 1844, with Mrs. C. A. Wil- 
son as teacher. We give herewith a pictorial representa- 
tion of this building, the cost in the erection of which 
was $10,000. Then, and for several years thereafter, it 
was the finest building in Oregon. Within its walls many 
of the pioneer young people of the Pacific Northwest re- 
ceived an education that prepared them to fill positions of 
prominence and usefulness, as journalists, physicians, 
ministers, teachers, legislators, and places in the literary, 
the home, the civil, and the religious life of the Pacific 
coast. The Oregon Institute was merged into the Wil- 
lamette University in 1853. 

Digitized by 


OREGON, i8»2. 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 169 

The city of Salem was founded by Jason Lee and the 
missionaries. He broke ground for the mills and the 
first buildings in June, 1840. It has been occupied con- 
tinuously by Americans since that time. 

The city was named by David Leslie. The dwelling 
seen in the picture given herewith was the residence of 
Jason Lee. It was one of the first dwellings erected in 
Salem, and was painted white, with verandas in the upper 
and lower stories painted green. Here the first meeting 
was held, at which preliminary arrangements were made 
for founding the school now known as the Willamette 
University. Here, also, the first meeting was held to 
consider the necessity and the means necessary to se- 
cure the establishment of a Provisional Government in 

This home of Jason Lee was not only one of the first 
frame buildings erected in Oregon, but it was then, and 
for some time thereafter, the finest private residence of 
American construction on the western coast of North 

The first camp-meeting that occurred on the Pacific 
coast among the white people exclusively was that held 
on the Tualatin Plains, near Hillsboro, Ore., beginning 
July 12, 1843. The ministers present were Jason Lee, 
Gustavus Hines, H. W. K. Perkins, David Leslie, and 
Harvey Clark. Sixty persons comprised the congrega- 
tion on Sunday, nineteen of whom were unconverted. 
Sixteen of these gave their hearts to God, and rejoiced 
in a consciousness of pardon before the services of the 
day were over. 

Among those converted on this remarkable occasion 
were several who had been trappers and traders in the 
Rocky Mountains. One of them was to become distin- 

Digitized by 


170 The Conquerors 

guished for the prominent part he took in securing Amer- 
ican supremacy in Oregon. Dr. H. K. Hines says : 

In the gracious influence of that hour, Joseph Meek ex- 
claimed, "Tell everybody that Joseph Meek, the old Rocky Moun- 
tain sinner, has turned to the Lord." If subsequently he did 
not prove faithful to the purpose and the profession of that 
day, it indicated the hallowed power that rested upon the people, 
and doubtless also the loftiest tide of spiritual life that ever 
touched the soul of Joseph I* Meek. Probably few meetings 
ever held have produced a more profound and blessed effect 
upon those present, and upon the population of the country, 
than did this. 

Dr. H. K. Hines says of a camp-meeting he attended 
in the Willamette Valley at a little later period : 

About one thousand people were presnt Many of them 
came quite a distance in ox wagons, bearing upon their faded 
and soiled covers the mottoes they bore when crossing the plains. 
Among these legends were: "Fifty- four Forty or Fight," "Em- 
pire Moves Westward," "Where Rolls the Oregon," "Oregon 
and Freedom," "Oregon or Over Jordan." 

An Important Factor in the Settlement o* the 
Oregon Question 

was the coming to the coast of a large number of Christian 
women. They were heroines of the noblest type. Mrs. 
Narcissa Whitman, the wife of Dr. Whitman, and Mrs. 
Eliza A. Spaulding, wife of Rev. H. H. Spaulding, were 
the first American women to enter these pagan solitudes. 
They came to Oregon with their husbands in 1836. In 
1838, two years thereafter, the wives and families of Rev. 
Cushing Eells and Rev. E. Walker were added to the list 
of American families who were associated with Dr. 
Whitman in his mission field east of the Cascade Moun- 

In July, 1836, a number of elect women were sent to 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 171 

the coast by the Missionary Society of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church. They reached Oregon in May, 1837. 
They were, next to Mrs. Whitman and Mrs. Spaulding, 
the pioneers of their sex to enter upon Christian mission 
work in Oregon. Their names were : Mrs. Alanson Beers, 
Mrs. E. White, Miss Anna M. Pittman, Miss Susan 
Downing, and Miss Elvira Johnson, and these were fol- 
lowed by a much larger number in 1839. Thus the bless- 
ings of home and family life were associated with the 
early history of Oregon. 

This did much to awaken an interest throughout the 
United States in behalf of the missionary settlements in 

Statement o* Daniel Webster. 

In 1840, Mr. Daniel Webster wrote to Mr. Edward 
Everett, our Minister to England, as follows : "The own- 
ership of Oregon is likely to follow the greater settlement 
and the larger amount of population." 

This, as the basis to the solution of the Oregon ques- 
tion, was implied in the treaty of 1818, and its importance 
was recognized, not only by the settlers in Oregon, but 
also by the people of the United States and of England. 
These, with many other acts and official utterances of a 
kindred sort, gave unmistakable proof of the interest 
taken by the Government of the United States in the solu- 
tion of the Oregon question. 

A large number of the members of Congress were not 
only interested in all that pertained to the welfare of 
Oregon, but they were enthusiastic in their support of 
all measures that would contribute to her upbuilding. 
This is especially true of many of the leading Democratic 
Senators of that period. Senator Linn and others were 
the steadfast friends of Oregon. They were watchful of 

Digitized by 


172 The Conquerors 

her interests, and persistent and determined in their 
efforts to secure for her the largest recognition and ad- 
vancement possible. 

They thus voiced the sentiment of the country in re- 
gard to the settlement of the Oregon question. 

The most casual observer can not fail to see how use- 
less would have been an effort to barter Oregon away 
under these circumstances, and, if attempted, it would 
have been impossible to have consummated the deal. 
These men in Congress could not have been defeated 
when they were backed by a public sentiment that was ir- 
resistible, and when, in addition thereto, they had ad- 
vantage of the prestige and strength that the United 
States Government had secured by the claim it had uni- 
formly and repeatedly made, covering a period of many 
years, in its correspondence with England, that the forty- 
ninth parallel would be the best terms this Government 
could offer ; thereby establishing a precedent and a claim 
that no officer of the Government could safely ignore, 
and which the President himself would be powerless to 

In view of these facts, how utterly inconsistent and 
untenable the claim that Oregon was about to be bartered 

Never after Jason Lee's second great missionary tour 
has Oregon been in the slightest danger of being lost to 
the United States. 

The facts involved afford incontrovertible proof of 
the correctness of this statement 

Differences of Opinion. 
The missionaries, in some instances, differed in judg- 
ment as to the best methods of action in the management 
of their work. Some were in favor of adopting what they 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 178 

pleased to call a thoroughly religious plan of work, leav- 
ing out the industrial features, and the acquiring of prop- 
erty to be used for secular purposes. In some cases the 
missionaries secured holdings in property for their own 
personal use. This was not remarkable, for the reason 
that they recognized the fact that, if they succeeded in 
their efforts, the country would be brought under the con- 
trol of the Government of the United States; that the 
American missionary colony would then lose its identity 
by being merged into the general and larger American 
settlement that would follow it. They were American 
citizens, and intended to remain in Oregon as a part of 
its permanent population ; it is not to be wondered at, for 
it was natural, and certainly not criminal, that they de- 
sired to make some provision for the time when they 
would need permanent homes for themselves and families. 

Mr. Lee took up no land for his own personal use. 
All his thought and effort was directed to the accom- 
plishment of the work that had been committed to his 
hands. He was wholly consecrated to the cause of God 
and humanity, and was incapable of being controlled by 
selfish aims and purposes. He especially desired : 

ist. That the Indians, in whose behalf he came to the 
coast, should be protected and provided for. 

2d. That the interests of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church should be placed in the best possible position for 
the accomplishment of good. 

3d. That, through the American colony he had estab- 
lished, Oregon should be brought under the control of the 
Government of the United States. 

Some of Mr. Lee's helpers in the mission work did 
occupy land with a view of devoting it to their own per- 
sonal use. For their action in this matter neither Mr. Lee, 
the Missionary Society, nor the Methodist Episcopal 

Digitized by 


174 The Conquerors 

Church were responsible. It is due to them to say that, 
judged by the best moral standards known to men, if 
these lands acquired for individual purposes were secured 
in a legitimate manner, if the management of the property 
thereafter was in harmony with the principles enunciated 
in the Golden Rule, Matthew vi, 12 (this is God's rule, 
and no declaration of human sentiment, warped by preju- 
dice, can change or abrogate it) ; if the occupancy of the 
land was governed by these principles, then there is 
nothing expressed or implied in any law, whether it be 
human or Divine, that was compromised in securing it, 
for these men expected to remain in the country. They 
were American citizens, and as such they had a right to 
the privileges and advantages that belonged to their cit- 

The opponents of American supremacy, however, used 
this as a cause of accusation against the missionaries, and 
said they were mercenary and venal because they acquired 
property and devoted it to their own personal use. 

It will assist to a better understanding of this matter 
to take into account the conditions that prevailed in the 
country at that time. 

1st. There was bitterness of feeling between those 
who advocated the American claim and those who favored 
the British contention, and this was responsible in large 
part for the personal criminations and recriminations of 
that period. All were interested in the issue involved, 
and in this, as in a closely contested political campaign, 
they gave expression to their preferences and prejudices 
by calling the missionaries political manipulators and 
other names of a kindred sort. 

2d. The missionaries, being the leaders in the work 
that led up to the formation of the Provisional Govern- 
ment, and also in effecting its organization, stood for all 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 175 

the condemnation of their opponents. Errors were mag- 
nified, or so changed in form and dress as to appear dif- 
ferent from what they really were, and these statements 
and reports involving the character and action of the mis- 
sionaries were, in many instances, conspicuous for their 
falsity. These things were the logical results of the con- 
ditions that prevailed. 

3d. The severe criticism and denunciation of the mis- 
sionaries by their opponents was a recognition of the 
effectiveness of their work and an unintended tribute to 
its success. Had they failed in their efforts to secure 
American supremacy, these criticisms would have been 
shorn of their vindictiveness. 

4th. On the 5th of July, 1843 (the crowning day in 
the calendar of Oregon history), when the members of 
the mission and the American settlers associated with 
them came out from that memorable meeting they were 
united in their loyalty to Oregon and in the recognition of 
their duty to the great commonwealth that their work and 
sacrifices had made possible. 

Whatever they, the missionaries, were, or were not; 
whatever they did, or did not, they were, as Americans, 
happy in the belief that they had won their fight. 

5th. It was impossible to advocate the American claim 
and put forth efforts to secure American supremacy with- 
out meeting with bitter antagonism from those who sup- 
ported the British claim; this is self evident. The Hud- 
son Bay Company and the friends of Great Britain were 
not disposed to give up the fight without earnest and 
determined resistance, and the missionary colonists were 
the parties they regarded as being responsible for their 

Mr. John Minto, one of the well-known pioneers of 
Salem, Ore., says : "There were almost as many different 

Digitized by 


176 The Conquerors 

opinions about these matters as there were people in 

Dr. H. K. Hines says : 

To the immortal honor of Oregon, it should be recorded 
that no country ever had a greater proportion of men strong 
enough and wise enough to govern themselves than she had. 

This was the result of the auspices under which the foun- 
dations of her civilization were laid. Her pioneers were the 
missionaries of the cross, and no names are mentioned so often 
by her historians as are those of the noble missionaries, beginning 
with the name of Jason Lee, in 1834. No part of the territory 
over which floats the flag of the United States is so vitally and 
essentially American as is that part of the Pacific coast originally 
known as the Oregon country. 

Digitized by 



Tribute to Jason Lee — Good Leadership Neces- 
sary to Success 

In any large and important enterprise, either secular 
or religious, good leadership is an essential element of 
success. With it, other things being equal, success is 
assured ; without it, failure is almost inevitable. The im- 
portance of wise and consecrated leadership was very 
forcibly illustrated in the work of the missionaries of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church in Oregon, under the guid- 
ing hand of Rev. Jason Lee. His executive ability and 
statesmanlike leadership is seen: 

1st. In forming and bringing to the coast the largest 
missionary company ever organized in the United States. 

2d. In securing financial help for his great enterprise. 

3d. In arousing intense interest in the Oregon ques- 

4th. In the strategic locations he selected for the es- 
tablishment of his missions. They became centers of 
American influence and power in the settlement of the 
Oregon question. 

5th. In meeting and overcoming the difficulties and 
dangers that confronted him in his work. 

1st. Dr. McLoughlin could not sell cattle to the 
American missionaries without violating the rides of the 
great company of which he was the manager. This 
measure was designed to prevent the propagation of ani- 
mal life in Oregon by any parties except themselves. Mr. 
12 177 

Digitized by 


178 The Conquerors 

Lee overcame this difficulty by sending to Northern Mex- 
ico and securing a large herd of cattle. 

2d. The colonists needed supplies and other articles to 
satisfy the wants of their daily life, and for these they 
were dependent upon the Hudson Bay Company. Mr. 
Lee brought to the coast in 1840 a large amount of stores 
and machinery and other articles needed for his American 
colony, which made them independent of that great com- 

3d. The subjects of Great Britain, in 1833, by virtue 
of the Joint Occupancy Treaty and the settlement they 
had made, were in a position to perpetuate their hold 
upon the country. Mr. Lee brought to the country a suf- 
ficient number of missionaries and settlers to more than 
counterbalance the scale in favor of the American con- 

4th. It was difficult to bring families to Oregon 
quickly by way of the plains, with the equipment neces- 
sary to sustain them for a long period. Mr. Lee solved 
the problem and made the success and the permanency of 
his work certain by chartering a ship and entering Oregon 
from the sea. The coming of this precious cargo met 
the demands of the case promptly and effectively. 

5th. When the liquor demon was in the act of fasten- 
ing his deadly fangs in the vitals of Oregon, Jason Lee, 
with his characteristic wisdom and energy, bridged the 
chasm and saved the American cause in Oregon from 
utter destruction. 

6th. When the few Americans in Oregon sat in the 
shadows of an Indian massacre, that threatened to sweep 
them from the face of the earth, Jason Lee, at the risk 
of his life, braved the storms and dangers of a mid- 
winter journey in a canoe to The Dalles, and was pre- 
eminently successful in averting the danger, by turning 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Covmtry 179 

the thoughts and the hearts of the Indians Godward, and 
securing their consent to walk in the pathways of peace 
and righteousness. 

7th. In 1833 the absolute necessity for prompt and 
vigorous action in bringing to the attention of the people 
of the United States the facts respecting the Oregon ques- 
tion was apparent, to the end that they might see and un- 
derstand its importance, and assert the rightfulness of 
their claim to the Oregon country. 

Mr. I*ee, in his two great missionary tours of the 
United States, was overwhelmingly successful in creating 
conditions that the Hudson Bay Company were powerless 
to overcome. His eloquent appeals in behalf of Oregon 
carried conviction to the hearts of the people, and started 
the fires of patriotic enthusiasm everywhere. 

8th. The missionaries needed the protection that a 
well-ordered government would afford to safeguard their 
interests. To meet this demand they established a local 
government and framed and executed laws for their own 
protection and that of the American colony they had es- 

9th. A large amount of money was necessary to 
finance the Oregon missionary movement and secure the 
results herein referred to; without it success would have 
been impossible, and failure inevitable. The work of rais- 
ing it was encompassed with very grave doubt and diffi- 
culty. For that period and purpose the financial results 
of his two great missionary tours were unprecedented, and 
have not been equaled in the history of .missionary move- 

Thus the difficulties associated with the Oregon move- 
ment were overcome, and the demands of the case fully 
met under the skillful and effective management of Jason 

Digitized by 


180 The Conquerors 

His ability to plan and to secure such a grip upon his 
work as to bring great things to pass in the execution of 
his purpose made him an ideal man for leadership in one 
of the greatest movements of the nineteenth century. 

The really great man and great leader is he who sees 
what ought to be done, and moves forward to its accom- 
plishment, who establishes himself as the central force 
around which the efforts of others may gather, who, when 
difficulties arise, is able to overcome them, and who can 
meet the demands of the case he has in hand effectively 
and successfully ; such was Jason Lee. 

Who and what accomplished most 

To redeem and save this Western coast? 

By whom was this mighty problem wrought, 

And order out of chaos brought? 

When God would break the chains of American slav- 
ery, He brought forward a Lincoln and a Grant as His 
instruments to execute His purpose. 

And when, in the unfolding of God's purposes, the 
time had come for the settlement of Oregon, for the de- 
velopment of the great resources of the Pacific coast coun- 
try; when God's time arrived for Americanizing and 
Christianizing the western side of the North American 
continent ; when the day came for giving the world a more 
enlarged view of the brotherhood of man, and for opening 
the doors of Asia and the islands of the sea to the Gospel, 
to Christian civilization, to the Bible, to schools, to com- 
merce, and to all the potential instrumentalities that God 
has ordained for the betterment of human conditions and 
the uplift of the world: then God raised up a man en- 
dowed with the capabilities necessary to successful lead- 
ership, and that man was Jason Lee. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 181 

A Demosthenes in strength of speech, 

That did the hearts of the people reach; 

A faithful friend and brother true 

To all men, and his Savior, too. 

A Christian of the noblest type, 

He stood for God, for truth, for right, 

The pioneer, the leader, founder 

Of our heritage in Oregon. 

Jason Lee was the pioneer and founder of Methodism 
and of American institutions in the Pacific coast country, 
in a somewhat similar, yet in a much larger, sense than 
General Washington was the leader of the American col- 
onists over a hundred years ago. 

He planted a vigorous American colony in Oregon. 
He planned and carried out the movements that brought 
victory to the colonists in their efforts to secure American 
supremacy in Oregon, and, in addition to this, he raised 
the money to pay the cost of the transaction. 

Dr. Wilbur Fisk's opportunity was unrivaled for the 
selection of a man for the superintendency of the Oregon 
mission whose qualifications would be equal to the de- 
mands of the case. 

He had under his care many young men of brilliant 
talents, whose devotion to the cause of God and the best 
interests of humanity were especially noteworthy. 
Among them were Jefferson Hascal, David Patten, Moses 
Hill, Miner Raymond, Osman C. Baker, Jason I*ee, and 
others, young men who, in the after years, attained to 
great prominence in the Church and in the Nation. 

When he suggested the appointment of a man who, in 
his judgment, was best qualified for the superintendency 
of the Oregon mission, he said: "I know of none like 
him." 1 

1 It would be difficult to find a more striking instance in history where the gift 
of judging men correctly has had a clearer exemplification and been followed by 
more important consequences. 

Digitized by 


182 The Conquerors 

Bishop Osman C. Baker said of Jason Lee, his school- 
mate and friend : "He was a large, athletic young man, six 
feet and three inches in height. . . . His piety was 
deep and uniform, and his life, in a very uncommon de- 
gree, was pure and exemplary." 

Mr. H. H. Bancroft, the historian, says of Jason Lee's 
power to influence others: "He was a master of men." 
Of his popularity he says: "Jason Lee was frank and 
affable. In his intercourse with men he inspired con- 
fidence, and was a general favorite." Of his reliability 
he states: "His truthfulness, as compared with other au- 
thorities, is nearly absolute." 

"His addresses excited great interest, and hundreds 
expressed their desire and intention to emigrate to Ore- 
gon." — Dr. Oregon Richmond. 

"Jason Lee was a man of wonderful eloquence and 
power." — Francis Richmond. 

Of one of Jason Lee's missionary meetings, a writer 
in Zioris Herald, February 6, 1839, says : "The address 
was one of great eloquence, and created intense enthusi- 

Zion's Herald, February 27, 1839: "No language of 
mine can convey any adequate idea of the great benefit 
conferred upon Oregon by Jason Lee." — William A. Sla- 
cum, United States Navy. 

Bishop E. S. Janes, at a missionary meeting held in 
Boston, said : "Jason Lee, the original pioneer of empire, 
who scaled the Rocky Mountains and tracked the desert 
plains that he might save the red men of the Pacific coast. 
Blessed man, more honored in heaven than he was on 
earth." — Zion's Herald of November, 1869. 

Bishop J. F. Hurst said : "Had it not been for the Lees 
the whole of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho would have 
belonged to the British." 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 188 

The following are excerpts from the "Missionary His- 
tory of the Pacific Northwest," by Rev. H. K. 
Hines, D. D. Of Jason Lee he says : 

He had a clear, vigorous, and broad intellect. . . . 

Promptness and decision were prominent elements in his 
character. . . . 

He was gentle and winning in spirit ... He was a 
great evangelist. . . . The suffering he endured will be as 
fruitful in blessing as the toil he performed. . . . 

He was known not only as a remarkably able preacher, but 
as an administrator and executor of great intelligence and 

Of his work in Oregon, Dr. Hines says: 

It was the most wonderful civil and religious transformation 
that the world has ever seen in the same period of time. . . . 

Jason Lee, better than any other man of his day, compre- 
hended the true missionary idea. Intensely religious, he was 
also intensely practical . . . 

No other missionaries on this coast equaled him in fore- 
sight, even the keen-sighted priests, De Smet, Blanchet and Bron- 
illette, and they were rated among the ablest men on the coast, 
did not equal him in his grasp of the future. Nor did the men 
who, in 1836 and in 1838, came to Oregon under the direction 
of the American Board. . . . 

Many in the Church could not understand that his mission 
should have in it the colonization and the expansion idea, that 
the Gospel must be illustrated and exemplified behind the plow, 
at the blazing forges and the ringing anvils, at the bench and 
at the shuttle, everywhere that life finds lawful use for itself. 

Jason Lee comprehended this from the first, and in this he 
was wiser than his masters, and wiser than many who were 
associated with him in the mission field in which he 
wrought . . . 

It was the great merit of Mr. Lee to comprehend the terms 
of the great problem of Christian civilization which he was 
chosen to work out on this coast, as a Christian, a missionary, 
a colonizer, an American, and a statesman. 

He could weigh circumstances, generalize facts, and foresee 
conclusions. If those who had committed to his hands the trust 

Digitized by 


184 The Conqueror* 

of founding this Christian commonwealth on the Pacific coast 
had not been separated from him by so great a distance, or had 
they not lost their own judicial balance, and had left him to 
work out the problem of his mission, the history we have to 
record would have been different. . . . 

Mr. Lee was intent on fulfilling the vision that had come to 
him of an American civilization spreading itself over the West- 
ern slope of this continent 

He saw how the means and energy that Providence bad 
placed under his command should be used to secure that fulfill- 
ment . . . 

The world and the Church, and Oregon herself, has never 
known this man in the wholeness of his great heart and 
life. . . . 

The history of the missionary work of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in Oregon from the time of its inception, in 
1833, to the time of his departure from Oregon, in 1843, accreted 
about the name and work of Jason Lee, and whatever there was 
of civil history, it also gathers about the work of which he 
was the central figure. His journey, in 1834, through two thou- 
sand miles of mountain wilderness between the Missouri River 
and the Pacific coast mark him as the true "Pathfinder" for 
civilization on these Pacific shores. He toiled among the most 
wretched and degraded human beings until he had brought to 
that people some dawning hope of a better life. Yet more strik- 
ingly was his character shown by the intelligence with which he 
organized and the fidelity and faithfulness with which he con- 
ducted the Great Reinforcement through the trying sea voyage 
half way around the world in the ship Lausanne, in 1839-40. 

These characteristics, lifted to the sublime in action, are 
also seen in the last great journey he made in behalf of his mis- 
sion and of Oregon. 

Report of Jason Lee. 
Mr. Lee met the Missionary Board in New York, 
July 1, 1844: 

We give herewith a few excerpts from his report : 

I desire to express my gratitude to God for His protection, 
and for guiding me once more to a civilized land, and for per- 
mitting me to meet again with this Board. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 185 

From what I have heard since my arrival in this city I am 
satisfied that it is necessary for me to give the Board all the 
information in my power in regard to the Oregon Mission. 

I will state briefly some of the reasons which induced my 
return from Oregon. 

L The mission has obtained possession of a large tract of 
land in connection with its work, and, as a large emigration 
was pouring into that country, I believed it to be a duty due to 
the Board to petition the Government of the United States to 
secure to the Missionary Society the right of possession. I be- 
lieved if I went to Washington I could present the claims of 
the society in such a manner as would make a favorable im- 
pression on Congress and the national authorities. 

In my recent visit to the federal city I saw and conversed 
with the President, with heads of departments, secretaries and 
members of the House of Representatives, and gave them my 
views in regard to these and other matters in Oregon, and, 1 
think, made a most favorable impression on all of them. Al- 
though it could not be effected as yet in a legal way, I have no 
doubt but the claims of the society will be favorably considered. 
Colonel Benton and others said our claims were reasonable and 
just and that, at a suitable time, Congress must be memorialized, 
a case made out and submitted to that body. 

II. I had heard that it was in contemplation by the Board 
to send a special agent to Oregon to examine into the condition 
and affairs of the Mission, and my impression was that he 
would probably cross the mountains. I believed that, availing 
myself of the offered opportunity, I could reach home previous 
to the agent's departure, if one was appointed, and, by giving 
to the Board a detailed statement of events and of the affairs 
of the mission, might save the expense of sending the con- 
templated agent 

III. I had become fully satisfied that the Board had had 
such representations made to them that it was my duty to appear 
before them, and, so far as it was in my power, to correct these 
erroneous statements in regard to the condition of things in the 

Affairs in Oregon have greatly changed since I had the 
happiness of meeting the Board last 

i. The Indians upon the Willamette River have diminished 
in a surprising degree. . . . 

Digitized by 


186 The Conquerors 

2. The white population has greatly increased. . . . When 
the Board sent out its large reinforcement the object was that 
Methodism should spread throughout Oregon. For what purpose 
else did it send out so large a number of laymen? If it had 
been only to form one or two stations among the Indians, it 
would seem that both the Board and myself, as their agent, must 
have taken leave of our senses. . . . Without our mission 
they (the early emigrants) could not have remained in the 
country, and they knew it. They told me when I arrived in the 
country, in 1840, that they should have left the country unless 
I had taken out supplies and saved them from succumbing to the 
Hudson Bay Company. 

3. We have been the means of the conversion of Rocky 
Mountain men, who had been in the mountains for ten or fifteen 
years and spent every cent in drink, and we have persuaded the 
people who were living in concubinage to marry. 

They are now making a handsome living and are industri- 
ous Christian men and women. 

Never since the world was made has a settlement of such 
men been so benefited by Christian influence as has the Oregon 
settlement . . . 

Bloodthirsty men have been prevented from annihilating 
the Indians. I have a paper handed me just as I left, signed by 
all who saw it but one, a stranger, which abundantly confirms all 
that I have said. 

These are brief extracts from Mr. Lee's statement of 
facts to the Missionary Board. In them he shows clearly : 

1st. That his visit to Washington in the interest of 
his mission and of Oergon, immediately preceding this 
meeting with the Board in New York, was a matter of 
great importance, and that it was so recognized is evi- 
denced in the cordial reception given him by the officers 
of the Government, and in assurances made of interest in 
his work, and of certain and early relief for Oregon, 
which enabled him to write : 

An Oregon bill will probably pass next session, but if not 
next session the settlers of Oregon may rest assured that it will 
pass soon. It can not be put off much longer. This is con- 
ceded even by the opposition. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 187 

This was the last year of the Tyler administration. 
The two great political parties were aligning themselves 
for the conflict. 

As we have seen in these pages, Mr. Lee, more than 
any other man, was responsible for popularizing the Ore- 
gon sentiment that was sweeping the country. His part 
in this movement was well known to the managers of the 
Democratic campaign, who, about this time, adopted the 
Oregon question as their rallying cry. 

The truth is, Jason Lee had made it possible for them 
to use this campaign slogan (Fifty-four-forty or fight) 
with tremendous effect. 

His presence in Washington and his ability to influ- 
ence others, especially upon a subject with which he was 
so familiar, and in which he was so deeply interested as 
he was about the Oregon question, gave him a splendid 
opportunity to push his work in behalf of Oregon. 

2d. Mr. Lee's reference to the rapid disappearance of 
the Indians in the Willamette Valley, and the great in- 
crease of the white people, indicated that a remarkable 
change was taking place in the personnel of the popula- 
tion. In connection with this, the transfer of his work in 
large part from the Indians to the white people was the 
only way by which he could possibly have made his mis- 
sion work a permanent and large success. 

The outgoing of the Indians and the incoming of the 
white people made this course a vital necessity to the 
success of the mission and the salvation of Oregon. 

Mr. Lee's recognition of this fact and the improve- 
ment he made of it, in turning the feet of multitudes to- 
ward these Pacific shores, and opening the way for them 
to obtain lands and homes, under the prospective pro- 
tection of the American flag, gives evidence of his ability 
as a statesman, his success as a colonizer, and the ef- 

Digitized by 


188 The Conquerors 

fectiveness of his service in the solution of the Oregon 

His breadth of view is indicated in these words: 
"When the Board sent out its large reinforcement, the 
object was that Methodism should spread throughout 
Oregon. For what purpose else did it send out so large 
a number of laymen ? If it had been only to form one or 
two stations among the Indians, it would seem to me 
that both the Board and myself, as their agent, must 
have taken leave of our senses." 

3d. The inestimable value of Mr. Lee's work in behalf 
of Oregon, of the United States, and of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church is evidenced in the statement he makes 
of the great amount of supplies and the large number of 
people brought to the coast for the purpose of pre- 
empting it in favor of the United States, and delivering 
the colonists in the American settlement he had estab- 
lished from the dominance of the Hudson Bay Company. 

His statement was : 

They told me when I arrived on the coast, in 1840, that they 
should have left the country unless I had taken out supplies and 
saved them from succumbing to the Hudson Bay Company. 

These words, and the facts upon which they were 
based, give abundant and incontrovertible proof of the 
determining effect of Mr. Lee's work in establishing a 
self-sustaining American community in Oregon. 

4th. Another fact of pre-eminent importance appears 
in Mr. Lee's report, viz: The moral transformation that 
had taken place, and the great spiritual uplift that had 
been given to Oregon, as the result of the missions and 
their influence upon the Indians, upon the country, and 
upon the mountaineers, the trappers, and the traders, 
who had been benefited by his mission work. 

His own words were: "Never since the world was 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 189 

made has a settlement of men been so benefited by Chris- 
tian influence as has the Oregon settlement" The facts 
given in these pages prove the correctness of this state- 

It is only necessary to say further, in regard to Mr. 
Lee's report, that it was a masterly presentation of the 
condition of affairs in Oregon. 

He showed that whatever complaints had been made 
about his administration were made from a misappre- 
hension of the facts involved. 

His vindication was complete, though Dr. George 
Gary, of the Black River Conference, had been appointed 
to supersede him. Yet Mr. Lee was still recognized as 
missionary to Oregon. 

The Board was satisfied that he had served the Church 
with great fidelity, efficiency, and devotion, and in the un- 
folding light of intervening years it is easy to see that he 
not only did his work wisely and well, but that it was 
pre-eminently successful. 

The removal of Jason Lee from the superintendency 
of the Oregon Mission is the one act of the officers and 
managers of the Missionary Society, in connection with 
the work of the Church in Oregon, that has not a single 
redeeming feature in it. It is the one dead fly in the box 
of ointment that emits an unsavory odor. It is a cloud 
and a shadow, as dark as midnight, upon the otherwise 
helpful work of the Missionary Board in behalf of Ore- 

To have taken this action without notice to Mr. Lee, 
and without granting him a hearing, was not only a 
strange procedure, but it was a colossal injustice, which 
the condition of affairs in Oregon did not justify, and for 
which no satisfactory explanation can be given. 

This was a crushing blow to Jason Lee, and, in con- 

Digitized by 


190 The Conquerors 

nection with it, came the long, the difficult, and the dan- 
gerous journey through Mexico that he felt compelled to 
make by land and sea, along a pathway flanked with per- 
ils of which he knew not, and beset with assassins, in 
order that he might meet with the Board, in New York, 
at the earliest date possible. 

This action was aggravated by the fact that the money 
used to establish and maintain the Oregon Mission Set- 
tlement was raised by Mr. Lee himself, and the wonderful 
stimulation, enthusiasm, and success that he gave to the 
work of raising missionary money throughout the United 
States was the means of securing not only all the funds 
needed for the thorough equipment of the Oregon Mis- 
sion, but new missions were started, those that had been 
established were strengthened, and the raising and ex- 
penditure of money in the missionary work of the Church 
was more than doubled, trebled, and quadrupled in a very 
short time by the great tidal wave of missionary enthusi- 
asm that was sweeping over the country. 

The estimate made by Mr. H. H. Bancroft (the his- 
torian), that $250,000 were raised by Jason Lee for mis- 
sionary purposes, is much below the amount that came 
into the treasury as the result of the matchless appeals 
of this pioneer missionary. * 

The action of the Board was also aggravated by the 
fact that not even the slightest intimation was made of 
any wrong in the moral character or conduct of Mr. Lee, 
either actual or implied — it was simply a difference of 
judgment in the management of the mission. 

The truth is, Mr. Lee was right, and the Board and 

1 The missionary money of the Methodist Episcopal Church is distributed by 
the officers of the Missionary Society, and is placed where in their judgment it is 
needed most, except in cases where special gifts are made and received, with the 
understanding that the wishes of the donor shall determine the purposes for which 
and the places where it shall be used. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 191 

those who had made these representations were wrong, 
radically wrong. 

This fact was soon thereafter recognized by the 
Board, and they would gladly have changed their action, 
but it was too late. 

Another fact: It is strange, but true, that the things 
about which complaints had been made against the admin- 
istration of Mr. Lee, and upon which the action of the 
Board was based, was the vital and the determining ele- 
ment in the work of the mission, viz. : The management 
of the secular department ; upon its success depended the 
permanency and success of the mission. 

Without the colonization feature, and provision for 
the wants of the colonists, and the means and the work 
that would secure the growth and the permanency of the 
settlement, upon a thoroughly business-like and efficient 
basis, the mission would have failed. The Indians and 
the work done among them would have died together. 

The claim was that a larger amount of money was be- 
ing expended than was necessary. That too much time 
and attention was being given to the material and polit- 
ical phases of the case, and that the large expenditure 
of funds and of effort in this direction was done to the 
injury of the work among the Indians. In his report to 
the Board Mr. Lee said : "This apparently large expendi- 
ture was, in a great measure, owing to the immense dis- 
tance, the cost of transportation, the expense of the out- 
fit, the return of missionaries, etc. The distance between 
this country and Oregon is the great vortex that has swal- 
lowed up over $40,000 of this money." 

The truth is, the action of the Board in the displace- 
ment of Jason Lee resulted in the martyrdom of this great 
and good man. 

The truth also is, that it was the judicious expenditure 

Digitized by 


192 The Conquerors 

of this money that Americanized and saved Oregon, and 
but for which it is quite certain that this Pacific coast 
country would have been British territory. 

To keep faith with the United States Government for 
its grant of funds to assist him in his colonization work 
and fulfill the conditions implied in the grant. 

To keep faith also with the people of the United 
States, who, upon his representations, had committed to 
his care large sums of money, amounting to many thou- 
sands of dollars, through the medium of the Missionary 
Society, to be used by him in founding and maintaining 
his American Mission Settlement in Oregon. 

To keep faith also with the people who, because of 
his eloquent descriptions of the Oregon country, had de- 
clared their intention to emigrate thither, demanded that 
he should look carefully after the material and the civil 
interests involved in the management of his mission set- 
tlement, and thus open the way for the coming of the 
large numbers of settlers whose faces he had turned to- 
ward these Pacific shores. 

To secure a large amount of supplies for use in the 

To pay the cost of the equipment, maintenance, and 
transportation of men, women, and children, and pur- 
chase machinery and farming utensils. 

To erect houses and mills, and open farms, and do 
the work incident to the establishment and enlargement 
of the settlement required a large outlay of money, of 
time, of attention, and of intelligent effort. 

He was successful because he had the funds at his 
command with which to go forward, and the energy, the 
wisdom, and the skill to use them to the best advantage, 
and improve the opportunity that God had opened before 
him for the accomplishment of His great work. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 198 

Dr. H. K. Hines says of the plans and work of Jason 
Lee in the secular department of his mission : 

The arrangement he made was the only thing that rendered 
it possible for the American people to fix themselves in this 
country. He was compelled by the conditions involved to secure 
the establishment of the business necessary for their own pres- 
ervation. The most important single act ever performed affect- 
ing the future of American history on the Pacific coast was the 
establishment of the mission on this basis by the Missionary 
Board, under the advice and management of Jason Lee, in 

The plans of Jason Lee to conquer the Pacific coast 
for Christ and form the nucleus of States that would, in 
the coming years, shine as stars in our national constella- 
tion, required large purposes, large expenditure of 
means, large faith, and large ability to grasp and meet 
the demands of the situation. 

We may learn from these facts : 

1st. That good men may act hastily, even rashly, and 
make mistakes of a very serious character, mistakes that, 
in the light of the after years, may seem almost criminal, 
as was the case with the Missionary Board in their treat- 
ment of Jason Lee. 

The truth also is, he, first and above any man of that 
period, seemed to have grasped the demands of the case, 
and to have been able to master the situation, to create 
conditions, and improve and control them in the interest 
of Oregon, of the Church he served, and of the Nation he 
loved, and, having done this with exceptional fidelity and 
success, to have been misunderstood, misrepresented, and 
treated so unjustly is unaccountable. Yet it is unques- 
tionably true that the men composing the Board were 
actuated by good motives, and they believed they were 
doing right. Their vision of the Oregon mission em- 


Digitized by 


194 The Conquerors 

braced the Indian. Jason Lee's vision embraced the red 
man, the white man, and the yellow man beyond the sea. 

It included the settlement, the material development, 
the control, and the Christianization of Oregon and the 
Western part of this hemisphere, reaching to the islands 
that are set as jewels in the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, 
and the evangelization of the Oriental countries that skirt 
the far-off shores of this Western sea. 

To him his work signified putting influences in motion 
that would be world-wide; the benefits of which, in a 
commercial and religious sense, would be immeasurable 
and live through the ages. 

2d. That time is an essential element in bringing out 
the significance of events and in revealing the true char- 
acter of men who participate prominently in the active 
affairs of life. 

This truth applies with tremendous force to the char- 
acter, life, and work of Rev. Jason Lee. 

His heroism, his sterling honesty, his manliness and 
kindliness of spirit, made him a model among men. His 
love to God and his love of humanity approached the 
ideal and the sublime. 

Of the life and work of Jason Lee, Dr. H. K. Hines 

It was a fact hidden behind a providential veil that, as the 
echo of the departing footsteps of the Indians along the forest 
trails died away, the ringing tread of the coming people, full 
of all that is mighty in mind, and vital in faith, would resound 
throughout the land. Jason Lee, almost alone of all the men 
about him, caught the gleam of the banners of the "Avaunt 
Couriers" of that coming host on the Eastern heights, as they 
began to descend toward the Western vales. God had been mak- 
ing His preparations in these changes, sad as they were, as battles 
are sad, but glorious in their outcome to religion and civilization, 
as battles are glorious when they bring freedom to men. . . . 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 195 

Nor was Lee less the providential leader of the move- 
ment than was the movement itself providential In it was the 
force of a Divine Thrusting On, the mighty, though silent, 
genesis of a sure-coming Kingdom that would march out of the 
old times and old traditions by companies and regiments and 
armies, following the lead of this stalwart leader of men, this 
founder of civilizations. 

He was a missionary, it is true, but it was in that fact that 
resided his power to accomplish what God wanted done on the 
Pacific coast. All through Africa, China, India, America, the 
missionary is the pathfinder. Merchants follow, then govern- 
ments. Cecil Rhodes is not the real founder of Rhodesia. It is 
Moffat and Livingstone. Everywhere the blackened trail of the 
missionary becomes the highway of the emigrant, the roadbed 
of the Pullman, and the line of the telegraph. So the footprints 
of Lee were the guide of all who came after him through the 
weary wastes of the continent 

Having thus pioneered the way, Lee and his company gave 
those original impulses to the life of Oregon which have held 
that life through all the history of the commonwealth. ... A 
man who stands, as does this man, at the beginning of a State 
or Nation, and is the molding and fashioning influence of that 
beginning, occupies an eminence in his relation to that State to 
which no other can ever attain. 

Jason Lee's work can never die; its influence will flow on 
through channels measureless by men forever. — "Missionary 
History of the Pacific Northwest:* 

Jason Lee had the religious zeal of an apostle, the 
courage of a hero, the faith of the martyrs, the patriotism 
of a Washington, and the political acumen of a states- 

For a number of years previous to his appointment 
as Superintendent of Missions in Oregon his mind had 
been deeply impressed with the conviction that his duty 
and life-work were among the Indians of the West. His 
intellectual ability, his clearness of judgment, his strength 
of character, his energy, his physical endurance, his piety, 
and the completeness of his consecration to this work 

Digitized by 


196 The Conquerors 

made him an ideal leader in a movement which was to 
revolutionize the conditions that had for centuries pre- 
vailed on the Pacific coast. 

Jason Lee possessed a kindly nature, a genial spirit, 
a big, warm heart, and a greatness of character that made 
him peer of the greatest and best men in the world. 

His name is written first and highest upon the roll of 
honor that records the birth of the commonwealths of 
the Northwest. Through his efforts, his sacrifices, and 
his statesman-like leadership, together with the work of 
his compeers and the helpful co-operation of the settlers 
in the vicinity of the mission settlement in the Willamette 
Valley, these Pacific Coast States shine with resplendent 
luster upon our Nation's flag. 

After Mr. Lee's visit and work at Washington and 
with the Missionary Board in New York, in June and 
July, 1844, he visited Wilbraham, Mass., and a few other 
points. Soon thereafter he took a severe cold, from 
which he never rallied. On the 18th day of February, 
1845, h e wrote to Rev. Gustavus Hines as follows: 

I think I mentioned in my last letter that I was afflicted with 
a cold. No remedial aid I could procure has been able to remove 
it, and unless some favorable change occurs soon it is my delib- 
erate conviction that it will prove fatal Should a favorable 
change take place I may advise you to be looking out for me 
coming around Cape Horn, or threading my way up the Wil- 
lamette in a canoe, as I used to do. . . . 

I remain your affectionate friend and brother, 

Jason Ltt. 

His life was so thoroughly interwoven with the life 
and history of Oregon that his crowning reflections 
were in her behalf. 

He died March 12, 1845, in Stanstead, the town in 
which he was born. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 197 

Thus, in manhood's middle day 

He laid his armor down, 
And exchanged bis earthly state 

For an immortal crown. 
His sunset hour, having come at noon, 
Made the period quite too soon 
For him the fruitage of his toil to see. 
Yet, he lived long enough to be 
A benefactor of his race 
And occupy an honored place 
Among the heroes of the world. 

Reinterment of the Remains of Jason Lee. 

In 1904 Mrs. Smith French, of The Dalles, Oregon, 
had some correspondence with Colonel Frederick D. But- 
terfield, of Derby Line, Vt., suggesting the desirability of 
removing the remains of Jason Lee from Stanstead, Can- 
ada, to the Lee Mission Cemetery at Salem, Ore, 

This resulted in an offer by Colonel Butterfield to 
superintend and bear the expense of disinterring and ship- 
ping them, with the tombstone, to Portland, Ore. 

They were consigned to Prof. F. H. Grubbs, son-in- 
law of Jason Lee, and were placed in the safety vault of 
the Title Guarantee and Trust Company, Chamber of 
Commerce Building, Portland. The time chosen for re- 
interment was June 15, 1906, in connection with the sixty- 
second annual commencement of the Willamette Uni- 
versity. On this date persons from different parts of 
Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana assembled at 
the Methodist Church in Salem. 

Outune o* the Services. 

Friday Morning, 10 o'clock — In the absence of Dr. D. 
L. Rader, editor of the Pacific Christian Advocate, Rev. 
W. S. Turner, of Spokane, presided. 

Digitized by 


198 The Conquerors 

Rev. W. H. Selleck, pastor of the First Methodist 
Episcopal Church, Salem, read the Fifty-second Chapter 
of Isaiah and the Third Chapter of First Corinthians. 
Rev. P. S. Knight, of the Congregational Church of 
Salem, offered prayer. Addresses were delivered by 
Hon. W. D. Fenton, President of the Oregon Historical 
Society, and Rev. J. R. Wilson, D. D., President of the 
Portland Academy. 

A solo was sung by Mrs. A. M. Smith, of Portland. 
This service was under the auspices of the Church. 

Afternoon, i o'clock — Hon. J. C. Moreland presided. 
Rev. A. J. Joslyn offered prayer. 

Addresses were made by Judge Moreland, the Chair- 
man; by Hon. H. W. Scott, editor of the Oregonian, 
and Hon. R. P. Boise, of Salem. This service was under 
the auspices of the Oregon Pioneer Association. 

At the close of Judge Boise's address, Rev. Dr. A. N. 
Fisher read passages from the burial service. The hon- 
orary pallbearers, Revs. I. D. Driver, Robert Booth, John 
Flinn, T. F. Royal, J. H. B. Royal, Nelson Clark, A. J. 
Joslyn, A. Atwood, M. S. Anderson, W. J. White, W. S. 
Turner, W. W. VanDusen, J. D. Gillilan, T. L. Jones, and 
A. Eades, formed in line behind him. The active pall- 
bearers were ex-Governors Geer and Moody, Hon. 
George H. Himes, Judge J. C. Moreland, J. H. Albert, 
and Geo. P. Litchfield. 

The services at the grave were in charge of Dr. J. H. 
Coleman, President of Willamette University. Brief and 
impromptu addresses were made by Rev. W. R. Bishop, 
of the United Presbyterian Church, and others. This 
service was one of unusual solemnity and interest. 

Evening, 8 o'clock — Rev. John Flinn presided. Rev. 
Mr. McDougal, of Albany, offered prayer. Addresses 
were made by Judge T. G. Hailey, who represented Gov- 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 199 

ernor Chamberlain of Oregon; by Hon. Allen Weir, 
formerly Secretary of State, who represented Governor 
Mead of the State of Washington, and by Lieutenant- 
Governor B. L. Steeves of Idaho. 

Judge Hailey spoke of the Indians in whose behalf 
the missions of Jason Lee were established in Oregon. 

Hon. Allen Weir spoke of the purity and greatness of 
the character of Jason Lee, and of the success of his 
work in establishing American institutions in Oregon. 

Hon. Mr. Steeves spoke of the extent, the amazing 
fertility, and the richness of the Oregon country, saved to 
the United States by the work of Jason Lee. 

Rev. Myron Eells spoke briefly of the pioneer mission- 
aries and of the fraternal spirit that prevailed among 
them. A solo was sung by Mrs. Charles H. Hinges, 
which was received with great favor. 

This service was under the auspices of the States that 
formed the original Oregon country. 

Committee op Arrangements. 

John H. Coleman, D. D., Chairman ; Professor Fran- 
cis H. Grubbs, Secretary ; Robert A. Booth, A. M. Smith. 
Walton Shipworth, and Mrs. Smith French. 

We give herewith brief extracts from the addresses 
made on this remarkable occasion. 

Hon. W. D. Fenton said, in part : 

The history of Jason Lee and his contemporaries is a nar- 
rative of the great struggle of American citizens for the pos- 
session and the retention of the Oregon country. Before that 
time this section was under the practical control of Great 
Britain. ... He had the ability to impress upon the Wil- 
lamette Valley a character for religious and literary aspirations 
that have remained unto this day. He suggested the manner 
iu which Congress could promote American emigration. 

It is a matter of history that Jason Lee was the unseen 

Digitized by 


200 The Conquerors 

hand behind the first active effort at Washington, and he was 
regarded as a special non-commissioned representative of the 
Government of the United States. . . . 

His life illustrates the truth of the statement that to achieve 
success there must be a single purpose, and energies can not be 
wasted or dissipated in attempting to do well more than one 
thing. . . . There is always room for a man of force, and 
he makes room for many. ... A feeble man can see the 
farms that are fenced and tilled, and the houses that are built 
The strong man sees the possible houses and farms. He makes 
estates a fact. Jason Lee, with the eye of a prophet in 1834, saw 
the great commonwealth of 1906. He saw the march and power 
of empire, and that the flag of his country would, in less than a 
century, wave from Panama to the Behring Sea. The Republic 
was to reach the zenith of its power on these shores. His work 
is done, the record of his life has been written. We can not add 
to or take from that record, and the simple ceremonies attend- 
ing this hour but feebly record the final chapter in the life of 
the great Methodist missionary, educator, pioneer, and statesman. 

Rev. Dr. J. R. Wilson said: 

The intent at the beginning was to keep the country wild and 
unknown, in the interest of the fur hunters. . . . Jason Lee's 
entrance upon Oregon soil marked the opening of a new pur- 
pose. He came to enlighten and help the people, rather than to 
exploit their country. He regretted to see the Indians waste 
away and disappear, but, as the white man began to come in large 
numbers, he recognized the change that had come in his mission 
to Oregon. His work changed, but his purpose to serve his 
feUow-men was not changed. . . . 

From this time we find him laboring for the education of 
the white people, whom he saw would soon occupy this favored 
land. What he saw so clearly was not so clear to the Mission 
Board, and putting himself right with the Church was his last 
earthly effort, and in this he succeeded at the sacrifice of his 
life. . • . 

His work was great enough to satisfy the largest ambition. 
. . . The ceremony of this day is but a late and worthy 
answer to his wish as expressed in his last prayer for the home 
of his adoption. Oregon holds the ashes of none more worthy 
of lasting and grateful remembrance than of him whom we shall 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 201 

this day commit to the sacred precincts of her soil in Lee Mis- 
sion Cemetery. 

Judge Moreland said: 

In accordance with the directions of the Oregon Pioneer 
Society, we have met here in the city he founded to pay tribute 
to Oregon's first and greatest American pioneer, Jason Lee. He 
came as a missionary to the Indians. He saw the possibilities, the 
vast resources, and the great value of this country. ... He was 
a strong patriot and was ardently attached to the country under 
the flag of which he was born, and in the defense of which his 
father had fought in the war of the Revolution. 

He saw that the final settlement of the ownership of Oregon 
would be determined by the citizenship of its settlers. . . . 

The work he did to colonize the country proved to be of in- 
calculable value. . . . 

Jason Lee was a remarkable man. He possessed great de- 
termination and wonderful foresight Like other great bene- 
factors of his race, he was not understood in his time. His 
Church, through ignorance of the situation, dismissed him from 
the control of its affairs most unjustly and cruelly. . . . The 
hour of his vindication has come. The Church has acknowledged 
its mistake. . . . 

His bones will be laid away in Lee Mission Cemetery, the 
place he selected seventy years ago, and all the people in this 
great Oregon country will honor his memory. 

Hon. H. W. Scott said: 

That faith which foresees and believes and is the substance 
of all things was the inspiration of the Oregon missions, and 
the creative power in the growth of the great States of the 
Pacific Northwest . . . Attempts to establish an American 
settlement in Oregon were made prior to the coming of Jason 
Lee, but they were failures. I need not speak of Astor's unsuc- 
cessful undertaking, nor of the failure of succeeding adventurers, 
Wyeth and Bonneville, whose enterprises were those of traders; 
nor of the attempted colonization by Hall J. Kelley, which ended 
even more disastrously. 

It was not until the American missionaries entered and pos- 
sessed the country that a foothold was gained for the occupation 
of Oregon by American settlers. ... As settlers and colotnz- 

Digitized by 


202 The Conquerors 

ers our missionaries became the chief force that Americanized 

Of Jason Lee, Mr. Scott says: 

He induced the Government of the United States to aid in 
the colonization and support of the country. . . . His mis- 
sion was the first low wash of the waves where now rolls this 
great human sea, to increase in power, we believe, throughout all 
ages. . . . 

After the Restoration in England, John Milton was over- 
looked and forgotten. His obscurity secured him immunity from 
persecution, and he died unnoticed. But so great is he now that 
the kings and princes and nobles of his time walk about under 
his shadow. The very age that neglected him is now known as 
"The Age of Milton," and receives its luster from his name. 

It is difficult for any generation to estimate rightly its con- 
temporary men and women of real worth. The judgment is 
with the future time. We get no proper sense of the majesty 
of our mountain peaks when near them. We must draw back a 
little if we would take in their full grandeur. 

With this view the work of our missionaries in Oregon rises 
in proportions more and yet more majestic, and in this no name 
stands or will stand above that of Jason Lee. . . . Not long 
remembered would Jason Lee have been— we may suppose— but 
for the opportunity that sent him to Oregon. With all men of 
action it is so. But for his opportunity given by the Civil War, 
General Grant would have no name. How slight the original 
incidents that linked the name of Jason Lee inseparable with the 
history of Oregon. . . . The Protestant missions were the 
main instruments that peopled Oregon with Americans. They 
established the sovereignty of the United States in the Pacific 
Northwest . . • 

Into this competition our missionary people were plunged; 
indeed, they led the way in it, and to their efforts was due the 
agitation that led to the increase of American emigration from 
the States, which gave our people the ascendency. . . . That 
there were no collisions of a serious character between the 
representatives of the different countries was due to the exercise 
of good common sense on both sides, to mutual forbearance and 
to a common language and kinship. . . . 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 208 

The kindness of Dr. McLoughlin to the missionaries is a 
possession that will be cherished by our people forever. 

Hon. H. K. Boise said : 

In 1835 Nathaniel J. Wyeth was obliged to sell all his inter- 
ests in the country to that powerful corporation, the Hudson 
Bay Company. When Wyeth left this whole region fell under 
British influence and dominion, but Jason Lee, the missionary, 
remained . . . From him and his associates emanated moral 
and educational influences that illumined the darkness that over- 
shadowed this almost barbarous region. 

The country was in possession of the Indian tribes, and was 
the hunting preserve of the great company, which every year 
sent out its trappers and gathered in a rich harvest of furs and 
built up the enormous wealth of the gigantic monopoly, which 
seemed destined to control the sovereignty of the country west 
of the Rocky Mountains and North of California. 

The missionaries were the messengers of civilization; they 
spied out the land, opened highways for the emigrants, and gave 
to the people of the Eastern States accurate information of the 
value of the country, the richness of its soil, the healthfulness of 
its climate, and its unsurpassed scenic grandeur. 

Mr. Lee built mills to supply food and lumber. He estab- 
lished schools and homes. He made provision to bring cattle 
from California. He was a man of broad and comprehensive 
ideas, and spent his short, earnest, and most useful life in laying 
the foundations of this commonwealth. . . . And now, when 
the members of the Church he founded have returned his re- 
mains to this scene of his active life, we, with reverent hands, 
commit his ashes to final sepulcher beneath the green sod of 
Oregon, in the beautiful cemetery that bears his name. 

Hon. Allen Weir said : 

We honor the memory of Jason Lee because of his noble, 
pure, and consecrated life. No mausoleum erected here to mark 
his resting-place could be too elegant or costly to properly express 
the love and appreciation of the people for him, and for the 
work he wrought . . . The everlasting snows on Mount 
Hood are not purer or fairer than the unsullied personal char- 
acter he left behind. . . . The civilization of which he was 
the forerunner and founder swept across the continent, subduing 

Digitized by 


204 The Conquerors 

the savage races, overcoming obstacles, and changing conditions; 
and now, at the dawn of the twentieth century, it has passed 
all former boundaries and has crossed the ocean to the Philip- 
pines, Hawaii, and other islands of the sea. 

Prof. J. T. Matthews, of the Willamette University, 
says of these memorial services in the Pacific Christian 
Advocate of June 27, 1906: "What a day ! The scenes in 
the church, and especially those at the grave, have not, 
in some respects, been paralleled in history." 

The slab placed at the head of the grave of Mr. Lee 
soon after his death is of white Vermont marble, is five 
feet six inches in length, two feet six inches wide, and is 
two and a quarter inches thick. It was brought across 
the continent with the remains, and will mark his last 
resting-place in this the land of his adoption. The stone 
bears the inscription as given on the opposite page. 

The life and work of Rev. Jason Lee in behalf of 
Oregon was romantic, unique, eventful, and wonderfully 
successful. His coming lifted the curtains of night from 
these pagan solitudes and transformed them into human 
habitations where peace and plenty and comfort abide. 
The trail of light that marked his pathway and shone 
out from the cabin homes of the missionaries attracted 
the attention of the people and brought multitudes of 
home builders to these Pacific shores. 

His pre-eminent service to the United States Govern- 
ment, to the American people, to Oregon, to the cause 
of humanity, to Methodism, and to the missionary move- 
ments of that period, not only challenges admiration, 
but it demands recognition of a substantial sort that 
will appropriately honor and perpetuate the name and 
the deeds of the pioneer missionary and the founder of 
American institutions on the western shores of North 

Digitized by 



To the Memory of the 


an itinerant minister of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, 
member of the New England Conference, 
and the first Missionary to the Indians 
beyond the Rocky Mountains. 

He was born 
in Stansted, L. C, June 27, 1803. 

in 1826 under the labors of the Wesleyan 
Missionaries^ Mr. Pope and Turner, and commenced 
his ministry in 1832 among the Wesleyan Methodists, 
preaching m Stansted and the adjoining towns 
till 1833, when he was called to engage in the 

Oregon Mission. 
To this 

Godlike Enterprise 
he devoted all his talents, in labors abundant 
he laid all on the missionary altar, counting not 
his life dear that the Red-men might be saveaT 

In this work 
he crossed the Rocky Mountains first in 1834, 

and again in 1838. 
July 16th, 1837, he married Anna Maria Pitman 
of New York, who died in Oregon June 26th, 1838. 
His second wife Lucy (Thompson) of Barre, Vt, 

died in Oregon, March, 1842. 
He sustained these painful bereavements with 
great Christian fortitude and submission. 

In May { 1844, 
he returned a second time to the United States, 
and in August impaired health compelled 
him to desist from his labors and find an 
asylum among kind relatives in his native town 
where lie died in peace 

March 12, 1845, 
41 years. 3 months, and 18 days. 

hb XIV., 14 
"If a man die shall he live again? All the days of 
my appointed time will I wait till my change come." 

Job XIX., 25 
"I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He 
shall stand in the latter day upon the earth." 

Job XIV, is 
"Thou shalt call and I will answer; Thou wilt 
have a desire to the work of Thy hands.* 9 


Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

206 The Conquerors 

He Was Not a Canadian. 

ist It has been claimed that Jason Lee was a Cana- 
dian. The following statement of facts show him to 
have been not only of American lineage, but to have had 
an American birth. 

John Lee came to America from England when he 
was thirteen years of age, with the family of William 

They were fleeing from the persecutions of their 
native land, and were among the first fifty-four settlers 
to occupy the region where the city of Cambridge now 
stands, on Massachusetts Bay. 

In 1635 this family, with others, under the leadership 
of Rev. Thomas Hooker, removed to Connecticut and 
were the founders of the city of Hartford. Soon after 
he was twenty-one years of age John Lee joined with 
eighty-four others and purchased two hundred and 
twenty-five square miles of land in the Connecticut Val- 
ley of the Indians, now occupied by the towns of Farm- 
ington, Southington, Bristol, Burlington, New Britain, 
Berlin, and Kensington. 

The old chart is still in existence that shows the 
boundary lines of land of John Lee. 

A number of the descendants of John Lee served 
their country in several Indian wars of those early days. 
The records of the Revolutionary War contained seven- 
teen names of descendants of John Lee who participated 
in the struggle for American independence. Colonel 
Noah Lee raised a regiment of Green Mountain boys 
and led them in the battles of Brandywine, Trenton, 
Germantown, Monmouth, and Yorktown. He and his 
command participated in the ceremonies incident to the 
surrender of General Cornwallis. Captain Nathan Hale, 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 207 

General Washington's trusted officer (the martyr spy), 
executed in New York by order of General Howe. Rev. 
Edward Everett Hale, of Boston. Rev. William Allen 
Lee, at one time president of Dartmouth College and 
subsequently president of Bowdoin. General Kirby 
Smith, of the Confederate Army, and Hon. Thaddeus 
Stevens, a prominent member of the House of Repre- 
sentatives at Washington, from Penn. Rev. Lewis O. 
Lee, president of the Theological Seminary at Marash, 
Turkey, under the auspices of the American Board of 
Foreign Missions; Judge William Strong, associate jus- 
tice of the Supreme Court of the United States — these 
were descendants of John Lee and his youngest daugh- 
ter, Tabitha Lee. David Lee, son of John Lee, was 
born in Farmington, Connecticut, in 1674. Jedidiah Lee 
was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, February 1, 
1697. Elias Lee was born in Northampton, Massachu- 
setts, July 26, 1723. Daniel Lee was born in Willington, 
Connecticut, January 20, 1753. 

Jason Lee, the pioneer and founder of Methodism 
and of American institutions in Oregon, was born in 
Stanstead, June 27, 1803. At that time this section of 
country was believed to belong to the United States. 

Daniel Lee, Jason Lee's father, participated in the 
battles of Lexington, White Plains, Long Island, and 
other engagements of the Revolutionary War. He was 
a pensioner under the act of 1818. 

About the year 1796 there was a large emigration to 
the northern part of Vermont and New Hampshire. 

Among the earliest of these settlers was Daniel Lee. 

The boundary line had not been established. The 
monuments that mark the boundary bear date of 1842. 

Mr. Lee and others, when they made settlement, en- 
tertained no doubt but that their lands were in the 

Digitized by 


208 The Conquerors 

United States. They were greatly disappointed when, 
nearly half century thereafter, and the boundary was set- 
tled, to find themselves in Canada. 

Daniel Lee's house stood about a stone's throw north 
of the line. A part of his land was in the United 
States and the other part in Canada. 

The fact that he was a pensioner of the Government 
and paid taxes to it is proof that he was recognized as 
a citizen of the United States. 

Under these circumstances Jason Lee was born, in 
1803, six years after his father had settled in this un- 
broken wilderness. In 1828 he left home to attend school 
at Wilbraham, Massachusetts ; fourteen years before the 
fixing of the boundary line. 

He was a citizen of the United States, and no man 
ever served his country or his Church with greater 
fidelity and efficiency. 

2d. It has been claimed that Jason Lee's stay on the 
Pacific coast was short, and that he could not, for this 
reason, effect great things in behalf of Oregon. 

From the time of the appointment of Rev. Jason Lee 
to the superintendency of the Missions of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in Oregon, in 1833, to the time of his 
death, in 1845, his life, his time, his intellectual ability, 
his physical strength, and all there was of him, was 
actively and thoroughly consecrated to the work of God, 
to his country, and his countrymen, as represented in his 
mission work in Oregon. 

The facts in the case show that the settlement he 
established and the work he wrought in connection there- 
with was the means of foreclosing the claim of the 
United States to the southern half of the Oregon country 
and taking actual possession and control of it. 

His efforts made the Oregon Mission in its Ameri- 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 209 

canizing aspects and effects one of the most successful 
missionary enterprises that the Methodist Episcopal 
Church ever inaugurated. 

The potential character of Mr. Lee's work in its 
relation to Oregon is evident in the fact that, intimately 
associated with it and as the outgrowth and result of it, 
the American view of the case was so enlarged and the 
whole question came to assume such a tangible and vigor- 
ous form that, simultaneous with these aggressive move- 
ments in behalf of Oregon, there came a demand from the 
people throughout the country that the claim of the 
United States to Oregon must be upheld, and maintained, 
and carried to a successful conclusion from the Ameri- 
can viewpoint. 

The work of Jason Lee was in two parts. The base 
of one field of his operations was on the Atlantic side 
of the continent, the other on the Pacific side; and in 
no piece of machinery that human hands ever produced 
did the parts work together more admirably and effect- 
ively for the accomplishment of the purposes of its ex- 
istence than they did in this. 

By his efforts on the Atlantic side of the continent 
the work on the Pacific side was made possible and was 
supplied with the facilities necessary to its growth and 
permanent existence. 

The prayers, the sympathies, and the active support 
of tens of thousands of members of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church throughout the country were with him 
in his efforts to do good among the Indians and lay the 
foundations of American life on these Pacific shores. 

Had Jason Lee never appeared upon the scene, had 
he never traveled over the country and electrified the 
people with his missionary appeals and his eloquent de- 
scriptions of Oregon, had he never established his Amer- 


Digitized by 


210 The Conquerors 

ican missionary colony on this coast, had the missions 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church never been planted 
in Oregon, it is possible that the great work done by 
him would have been effected through some other instru- 
mentality. In view, however, of the complex conditions 
involved, and the claim of England, whose treaty rights 
in the joint occupancy of the country were equal to those 
of the United States; the fact that her representatives 
were on the ground in large numbers ; the fact, too, that 
they had abundant financial strength to maintain their 
entrenched position, and were in tentative possession of 
the trade of the country, and of the country itself; in 
view of these and other facts of a kindred nature, it is 
extremely doubtful, had not Jaspn Lee inaugurated a 
counter movement for the possession of Oregon by es- 
tablishing an American missionary colony, a colony 
strong enough numerically and financially to assume and 
maintain control of the country by establishing a pro- 
visional government and arousing the attention of the 
people of the United States to existing conditions, or, had 
the work of Jason Lee been deferred a few years later, 
it is doubtful if the effort to establish American su- 
premacy in Oregon would have been successful without 
the arbitrament of war. 

The establishment of the provisional government, 
July 5, 1843, was the crowning feature in the American 
campaign for the possession of Oregon. 

3d. It has been claimed that Oregon became an 
American Commonwealth, not so much because of work 
done in her behalf by Jason Lee, but rather as the result 
of priority of discovery, the general trend of events, 
the work of American trappers and traders, notably Cap- 
tain Wyeth, Joseph Meek, Captain McKay, Mr. Robert 
Shortess and others, it is claimed, did heroic work in 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 211 

behalf of Oregon; that the missions, the missionaries, 
and their work were mere incidents in the unfolding 
events that made Oregon American. 

That this view is incorrect and does violence to the 
facts in the case and is a colossal injustice to the chief 
actors in this great drama, will appear from a careful 
examination of the conditions that prevailed in the 
country at that time and the causes that produced a 
change in them. 

The facts, so far as they relate to the discoveries 
made by the United States and England and Spain, upon 
which were based their claim to Oregon, and the con- 
ditions that prevailed in the country at that time, are 
as follows : 

Facts About the Spanish CXaim to the Oregon 

Juan de Fuca, a Greek navigator, discovered the 
straits that bear his name in 1592. 

In 1774 Juan Parez, a Spanish explorer, visited these 
waters and sailed as far north as Queen Charlotte Sound. 

In 1775 Heceta, a Spanish navigator, cruised along 
the coast of the Oregon country, and on July 14th of 
that year sent six men ashore in latitude 47, degree 48. 

On the 31st of May, 1791, Lieutenant Francis Elisa 
dispatched the Princess Royal, under the command of 
Captain Alferez Quimber, a Spanish navigator, to ex- 
plore the Straits of Juan de Fuca and adjacent waters. 

He spent several months making examinations and 
surveys. He gave names to many points and places in 
this part of the old Oregon country. He erected a build- 
ing at Neah Bay of brick that he brought from Mexico, 
and established his headquarters at that place. They 

Digitized by 


212 The Conquerors 

have some of the brick at the Ferry Museum in Tacoma, 
which formed a part of this historic Spanish structure. 

"The Washington State Historical Society" has 
made arrangements to place a monument on the spot 
where the building was erected, commemorative of the 
establishment of this Spanish settlement 

The facts in regard to the occupancy of Oregon and 
the extensive surveys made under the direction of the 
Spanish Government, the several months embraced in 
this work, together with the fact that they were the first 
to make discoveries and give names to many points of 
interest in the Puget Sound country and the waters con- 
tiguous to the straits of Juan de Puca, afford unmis- 
takable and incontrovertible proof of the rightfulness of 
the claim of Spain to the Oregon country. And it is 
a fact worthy of special note that the claim of Spain 
to a large part of the territory now included in the do- 
main of the United States embraced Oregon and was 
sold to France in 1800 and purchased by the United 
States in 1803 for $15,000,000 in the great land sale 
known as the Louisiana Purchase. 

Basis of the British Claim to the Oregon Country. 

In 1577 Sir Francis Drake, an English navigator, 
entered the Golden Gate and anchored his ship in San 
Francisco Bay. It has been claimed that this gave to 
England ground for claim of discovery in these waters. 
This is untenable and preposterous. 

The Spanish Government's claim to Mexico at that 
time was indisputable. Her navigators discovered the 
Pacific side of North America in 15 19. This embraced 
the northern part of Mexico and what is now known 
as California. Their occupancy of Mexico was con- 
temporaneous with its discovery. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 218 

Captain James Cook, an English navigator, had 
cruised in the waters of the Pacific, but he did not enter 
the Straits of Juan de Fuca or the Columbia River, nor 
did he or Sir Francis Drake establish a rightful claim in 
behalf of their government either by discovery, by being 
first to enter its inland waters, or by establishing a tem- 
porary occupancy anywhere along the shore line of the 
Oregon country. 

In May, 1792, Captain George Vancouver, an English 
navigator sent out by the British Government, reached 
the Oregon coast with a large and well equipped ex- 

Captain Vancouver made extensive surveys and exe- 
cuted many maps and charts of these waters. His notes 
contained a vast amount of expert information touching 
the Oregon country. He assumed the position of god- 
father to this American child and was lavish in the 
names he gave to its mountains, its promontories, and 
its inland seas. 

It is strange that so many of these names have been 
retained, when it is remembered that the object of the 
donor in bestowing them was not only to perpetuate the 
record of his work, but his expedition, the names he 
gave, the reports he made, and the work he wrought, 
was designed to be the entering wedge to British owner- 

Its purpose was to neutralize, offset, and destroy the 
claim of the United States and to establish a basis for 
a counterclaim of ownership to Oregon by the British 

This (as the cattle men of the plains would say) 
was a late and a strategic movement to put the brand of 
England upon the Oregon country. 

Captain Vancouver's reports were voluminous, and 

Digitized by 


214 The Conquerors 

in the references made to them by the British press there 
was not wanting evidence of a disposition to greatly 
magnify and over-rate the importance of his work as 
the basis of a claim to British ownership. 

There is no doubt but that the joint occupancy treaty, 
that masterpiece of diplomatic skill, was the outgrowth 
of his work. 

It is not true that Captain Vancouver was the dis- 
coverer of the inland waters of the Oregon country or 
the entrances to them. He doubtless saw and placed 
upon his maps and charts coves, indentations, and curves 
in the extensive shore lines of these inland seas that the 
American navigators who had preceded him did not chart 
or make official record of ; but he was not the discoverer 
of anything on the Pacific coast that would give pre- 
cedence and strength to the British claim as compared 
to that of the United States, or that would entitle his 
government to the ownership of the country by virtue 
of the discoveries he had made. 

His entrance of the Straits of Juan de Fuca was made 
subsequent to that of Captains Gray and Kendrick, and 
his entrance to the Columbia River was made later in 
1792 than was that of Captain Gray, the American 

The Hudson Bay Company. 

The American fur and trading companies operating 
in the Oregon country were superseded by the Hudson 
Bay Company in 1821. They established trading posts 
in different parts of Oregon, with headquarters at Van- 
couver, on the Columbia River. These points became 
centers of population and of a large trade. A business 
aggregating millions of dollars annually was carried on 
with the Indians and with the trappers of the country. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 215 

The claim of England to the ownership of Oregon was 
based upon the discoveries alleged to have been made 
by Captain Vancouver and upon the occupancy of the 
country by the Hudson Bay Company. 

Facts that Prove the Rightfulness of the Q*aim 

of the United States to the Original 

Oregon Country. 

In 1788 the sloop Washington, under the command 
of Captain Robert Gray, and the ship Columbia, under 
the command of Captain John Kendrick, American navi- 
gators, entered the Straits of Juan de Fuca. 

These vessels had been fitted out by a company of 
Boston merchants, to carry goods as articles of trade 
and commerce with the Indians of the northwest coast 
of North America. They spent a part of 1788 and 1789 
cruising in the waters north and east of the entrance to 
the straits, bearing at the masthead of their ships the 
flag of the United States. 

Captain Gray, with his sloop The Washington, sailed 
fifty miles east of the entrance to the straits. His act 
in this case and the name of his vessel give special ap- 
propriateness to the name afterward given to this State, 
whose shore line borders the waters he navigated and 
whose mountain sentinels were silent witnesses of his 
great work. Captain Kendrick sailed around the island 
now known as Vancouver Island. He was the first to 
make the passage between the island and the main land. 

After exchanging the Washington for the Columbia, 
Captain Gray returned to the Atlantic coast via the Cape 
of Good Hope, in 1790, and in making this voyage was 
the first to carry the American flag around the world. 

Captain Gray returned to the Pacific coast in 1792, 

Digitized by 


216 The Conquerors 

and on the 7th of May of that year he discovered and 
entered Gray's Harbor, where he remained until the 10th. 
These waters were named in honor of their discoverer. 

On the eleventh day of May, 1792, Captain Gray dis- 
covered and entered the Columbia River. He named this 
great river in honor of his ship. 

Captain Robert Gray was a great sailor. He was 
bom in Tiverton, Rhode Island, in 1755, and died in 
Charleston, South Carolina, in 1806. Thus, as we have 
seen, the first discoveries and entrances through these 
great ocean gateways into the inland waters of the 
Oregon country were made by American, and not by 
English navigators, giving the United States precedence 
in her claim of ownership as compared with the claim 
of England; and, as we have also seen, Captain Gray 
made the inland waters of Oregon the place of prepara- 
tion and the starting point for his famous voyage around 
the world. 

First Occupancy ox the Oregon Country. 

Oregon was occupied by American trappers and 
traders in the early part of 1800. The Missouri Fur 
Company was organized in 1802. 

The American Company, of which John Jacob Astor 
was one of the chief operators, began their work in 1809. 
They established a trading post at the mouth of the 
Columbia River in 181 1, and called it Astoria, in honor 
of Mr. Astor. Thus the Americans were not only first 
in the discovery of the Oregon country as compared with 
England, but they were the first to occupy it. 

Their occupancy antedated that of the Hudson Bay 
Company by several years. The claim of the United 
States to the ownership of the Oregon country (em- 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 217 

bracing the region south of Alaska, north of California, 
and west of the Rocky Mountains) was legitimate and 
right, the title thereto being based upon : 

1st Priority of discovery, 

2d. Priority of occupancy, 

3d. Purchase of the claim of Spain. 

These acts and these facts made the claim of the 
United States one of incomparable superiority as com- 
pared to that of England. Nevertheless the country was 
open to joint occupancy. Under the circumstances this 
was a strange and anomalous condition. 

It was unjust in that it placed in imminent peril the 
rightful claim of the United States. It gave the Hud- 
son Bay Company and the British Government an op- 
portunity to secure control and ownership of the country, 
in contravention of the principles of equity that inhered 
in the case, and enabled them to obtain, in the final set- 
tlement of the matter, over one-half of the square miles 
of area embraced in the old Oregon country. This 
treaty was entered into in 1818 between England and 
the United States, and was to the effect that the Oregon 
country should be open alike to the subjects of Great 
Britain and to those of the United States. This agree- 
ment was known as the Joint Occupancy Treaty. It 
was reaffirmed in 1827. It was annulled in 1846. 

The foregoing facts show that the claim of the 
United States embraced the entire original Oregon 

They also show that the American title was strong, 
just, and as nearly perfect as it was possible for it to be. 

No deed or conveyance was ever made in which the 
title to the property described in it was stronger or more 
perfect than was the title of the United States to the 
territory west of the Rocky Mountains, north of the 40th 

Digitized by 


218 The Conquerors 

and south of the 54th parallel. They show, too, that the 
Democrats were right when, in the Polk campaign, they 
declared that Oregon belonged to the United States. 

Jason Lee's army of occupation, however, had taken 
possession of the country south of the 49th degree, but 
had not established an American settlement north of it. 
Had his colonization work embraced the northern part 
of the Oregon country, or had the officers of the United 
States Government recognized and asserted their rights 
of discovery, occupancy, and purchase to the extent de- 
manded by the equities of the case, the American flag 
would to-day be the symbol of National authority from 
the Behring Sea to the Gulf of California. 

Treaty with Russia. 

A very important historical fact that sustains the 
claim of the United States to the ownership of the entire 
original Oregon country is the action taken by the Rus- 
sian and the United States Governments touching their 
relative rights and interests in the Pacific Northwest. 
This treaty was made in 1824 and ratified in 1825, the 
third article of which is as follows : 

It is moreover agreed that hereafter there shall not be 
formed by the citizens of the United States, or under the author- 
ity of the said States, any establishment upon the Northwest 
Coast of America. Nor in any of the islands adjacent to the 
north of fifty- four degrees and forty minutes of north latitude, 
and that in the same manner there shall be none formed by 
Russian subjects, or under the authority of Russia, south of 
the same parallel. 

The treaty embraced a recognition of these facts : 
1st. That the territory of the governments named 
joined on the 54th parallel. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 219 

2d. That the boundary line referred to in the treaty 
was such as both countries had a right to claim, because 
of priority of discovery and priority of occupancy, and, 
as we have seen, the claim of the United States to the 
country south of the line was strengthened and supple- 
mented by the purchase of the claim of Spain. 

The Hudson Bay Company, by superseding the Amer- 
ican Fur Companies, in 1821 became the occupants of 
the country and put themselves commercially in the place 
formerly occupied by the American Companies; by con- 
tinuing their occupancy a few years they would naturally 
and certainly have come into complete and perpetual pos- 
session of the country. Thus the Hudson Bay Company, 
from 1821 to the time of the coming to the coast of 
Rev. Jason Lee, in 1834, had the best of it, very de- 
cidedly the best of it. They had, as we have seen, estab- 
lished trading posts in different parts of Oregon, and 
these were points of great influence and power in the 
grip it gave them upon the country. After securing the 
rights of Captain Wyeth, in 1835, they had everything 
their own way. They assumed and exercised authority. 

The representatives of the company were English 
subjects, and embraced officers, employees, and beneficia- 
ries. The country also contained a large Indian popu- 
lation, who were taught to recognize allegiance to the 
Hudson Bay Company and to the British crown. 

The Indians knew the Americans as Boston men, 
and the Hudson Bay Company as King George's men. 

The few American traders and trappers who resided 
in the country chafed perhaps under the yoke of the 
Hudson Bay Company and were chagrined to see the 
claims of the United States trailed in the dust, but they 
were as powerless to render any assistance to their coun- 

Digitized by 


220 The Conquerors 

try or free themselves from the grip of the monopoly 
that ruled them as if they had been Egyptian mummies. 

With every vestige of American influence eliminated 
from the case, and all hope of American control swept 
away by the absorption and swallowing up of the Ameri- 
can fur companies that years before had operated in the 
country, add to this the fact that under the joint occu- 
pancy arrangement the rights of Great Britain in Oregon 
were equal to those of the United States, the outlook for 
American supremacy in Oregon was one of almost utter 
hopelessness. These were the exact conditions that pre- 
vailed in 1834, when Jason Lee came into the country. 

The most casual observer of the facts involved can not 
fail to see that there was nothing in the situation that gave 
special promise of change in these conditions; on the 
contrary, the Hudson Bay Company would have in- 
trenched themselves more, and yet more strongly as the 
years went by, and continued their occupancy of the 

The American trappers and traders, Captain Wyeth, 
Captain McKay, Mr. Joseph Meek, and others, did heroic 
service in behalf of Oregon, but the opportunity to do 
this came to them as a result of the presence and work 
of the missionaries herein referred to, and this whole 
question of Americanizing Oregon was opened to them 
and to the people of the United States and to the Govern- 
ment itself by the work of Jason Lee in the establish- 
ment of his mission work in Oregon. 

Mr. Robert Shortess and other representative men 
who came to the coast with the emigration of 1842 also 
did much effective work in behalf of Oregon, but, as 
we have seen, their coming was the result of the work 
of Jason Lee. It was the American settlement made by 
him, and the strong and overwhelming American senti- 

Digitized by 




Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 221 

ment he had created throughout the United States, and 
the untiring persistency and energy with which the mis- 
sionaries pushed their side of the case, that gave pre- 
eminence and success to the American contention and 
enabled the missionaries to win their case against the in- 
trenched position of that giant monopoly, the Hudson 
Bay Company, in so far as their claim applied to the 
southern half of the original Oregon country. 

From the autumn of 1834 to July 5, 1843, was the 
formative period in the life of the American Colony in a 
sense and to an extent that can not be rightfully claimed 
for any other period. The work that was done and the 
events that occurred during these years shaped the des- 
tiny and fixed the national status of the southern half 
of the Oregon country certainly and irrevocably. From 
this conclusion there is no possible escape, if the facts 
in the case are considered. 

And it will be observed that these events had their 
origin, their progress, and their culmination in the efforts 
of Jason Lee and embrace the exact period covered by 
his work in behalf of Oregon. 

Digitized by 


Work of the American Board in Oregon 

The Missions of "The American Board of Commis- 
sioners for Foreign Missions" were established in Oregon 
east of the Cascade Mountains in 1836. 

The initial work and correspondence incident thereto 
was done by Dr. Marcus Whitman. 

He was born at Rushville, New York, September 4, 
1802. His parents were prominent citizens of that place 
and honored members of the Presbyterian Church. He 
studied medicine in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and after- 
ward practiced his profession in Canada for four years ; 
at the end of this time he returned to his native town in 
New York, where he continued his medical studies and 
practice. He was a devoted Christian and took great 
interest in missionary work. He began his missionary 
labors in 1835, an( * * n l &36 he crossed the continent and 
began missionary work in Oregon. 

Mr. J. G. Webb, of Seattle, who has a personal knowl- 
edge of the facts about which he speaks, says : 

Miss Narcissa Prentiss was a daughter of Judge Prentiss, 
of Angelica, New York. 

From the time when, at twelve years of age, she gave her 
heart to God and united with the Presbyterian Church at 
Plattsburg, New York, she felt that God called her into the 
mission field. 

She had a voice of charming sweetness and led (soprano) 
in the church choir at Angelica. 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 228 

In the Presbyterian Church at that place, in February, 1836, 
Dr. Whitman and Miss Prentiss were married. 

A farewell service was held in the church at Angelica. 
The pastor announced the hymn; all present joined heartily in 
the singing; soon, evercome by emotion, every voice was hushed, 
and Mrs. Whitman, in clear, sweet tones, sang it to the end 
without a single discordant note. The hymn sung had special 
reference to the tender ties of love and friendship that existed 
between Miss Prentiss and the members of the Church and 

The following are the words of the hymn: 

Yes, my native land, I love thee; 
All thy scenes, I love them well; 
Friends, connections, happy country. 
Can I bid you all farewell? 

Can I leave you, 
Far in heathen lands to dwell? 

Yes, I hasten from you gladly, 
From the scenes I loved so well; 
Far away, ye billows, bear me; 
Lovely native land, farewell; 

Pleased I leave thee, 
Far in heathen lands to dwelL 

In the desert let me labor, 
On the mountain let me tell 
How He died, the blessed Savior, 
To redeem the world from helL 

Let me hasten, 
Far in heathen lands to dwelL 

Bear me on, thou restless ocean; 
Let the wind my canvas swell; 
Heaves my heart with warm emotion, 
While I go far hence to dwell 

Glad I bid thee 
Native land, farewell, farewell. 

Soon thereafter began one of the most remarkable wedding 
tours ever recorded. 

Digitized by 


224 The Conquerors 

These same queenly characteristics and Christlike 
qualities, lifted into the sublime in sacrifice and heroic 
deeds, were manifested by herself and Mrs. Spalding 
when they laid themselves upon the altars of God and 
humanity and consented to accompany their husbands 
through forest jungles, over mountain trails, and desert 
plains, in order that they might assist in bearing messages 
of hope and help to the Indian tribes on the western coast 
of North America. 

(The author regrets his inability to furnish photos 
of Dr. and Mrs. Whitman. There is not a true life 
picture of them in existence, so far as known. Those 
that have appeared in books and pamphlets were not 
taken from life and are not true pictures.) 

A company of five persons was sent out by the 
American Board in 1836. The personnel of this mis- 
sionary family was as follows : Dr. Marcus Whitman and 
wife, Rev. H. H. Spalding and wife, and Mr. W. H. 
Gray, a single man. They traveled the continent across 
and arrived at the Hudson Bay Company's post at Walla 
Walla on the first day of September, 1836. (It is a 
singular coincidence that Jason Lee and his party reached 
the same point September 1, 1834.) In 1838 the names 
of Rev. E. Walker and Cushing Eells, with their wives, 
also Rev. A. B. Smith, were added to the list. Missions 
were established at Waiiletpu, on the Walla Walla River, 
among the Cayuse Indians, of which Dr. Whitman had 
personal charge, and one at Lapwai, on the Clear Water, 
among the Nez Perces, of which Mr. Spalding had per- 
sonal charge. 

In 1838 a mission was established at Kamiah, among 
the Nez Perces. In 1839 Messrs. Eells and Walker 
opened a mission at Tshimakain, among the Spokanes. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 225 

In writing of the work at these several stations, Rev. 
Myron Eells says: 

The first few years of the mission were very encouraging. 
Owing partly to the novelty, the Indians at Lapwai seemed 
anxious to labor, to learn at school, and to receive religious in- 
struction; as soon as one had learned something more than 
others, they would gather around him, while he would be their 

They sometimes spent whole nights in repeating over what 
they had learned at the religious services. 

From one to two thousand gathered for worship at these 
meetings. Two thousand made a public profession of sin and 
promised to serve God. Many of them evidently did so with im- 
perfect ideas, yet not a few were believed to give evidence of 

Among the Cayuses also more were ready to attend the 
school than the mission family could supply with books or had 
ability to teach. Morning and evening worship was maintained 
in all the principal lodges, and a confesson of sin was made 
similar to that among the Nez Perces. 

For a time, when Dr. Whitman or Mr. Spalding traveled 
through the country they were followed by hundreds of Indians 
eager to see them and hear Bible truths at night They had a 
strong desire for hoes and other agricultural implements and 
were willing to part with any property they had in order to 
obtain them, even bringing their rifles to be manufactured into 
such articles. From eighty to one hundred families planted fields 
near Mr. Spalding's, and many near Dr. Whitman's place raised 
enough provisions to supply the mission. In 1838 Mr. Spalding 
reported that his field produced 2,000 bushels of potatoes, besides 
wheat and other articles. In 1841 a saw and grist mill was 
erected among the Nez Perces, and a grist mill among the 
Cayuses. In 1839 the mission received a donation from Rev. 
H. Bingham's Church at Honolulu, Sandwich Islands, of a small 
printing press, with types, furniture, paper, and other things, to 
the value of $450. Mr. E. O. Hall, a printer from the islands, 
came with the press, and the first book printed west of the 
Rocky Mountains, so far as known, was issued that fall in the 
Nez Perces language, and also in that of the Spokanes, 

Digitized by 


226 The Conquerors 

A Presbyterian Church was organized at Waiiletpu, 
August 18, 1838. 

Rev. H. H. Spalding was elected pastor, and Dr. 
Marcus Whitman ruling elder. The following resolu- 
tion was adopted at the time of the organization : 

Resolved, That this Church be governed on the Congrega- 
tional plan, but attached to the Bath Presbytery, New York, 
and that we adopt its form of faith and covenant 

This was the first Presbyterian Church organized in 
North America west of the Rocky Mountains. 

Dr. Whitman was a ruling elder in the Presbyterian 
Church in Wheeler, New York, and Dr. Spalding was 
a member of the Bath Presbytery, New York. They 
and their wives, with a number of Indians, formed the 
nucleus of this the second Protestant Church organiza- 
tion established in Oregon. 

The mission work at these points and among these 
tribes was very successful and seemed to have in it the 
elements of permanency. 

A large number of them had renounced their pagan 
customs and had given evidence of their changed con- 
dition by the better and nobler lives they were living, 
but it is more especially evident in the fact that, several 
years thereafter, Dr. Spalding, in visiting among them, 
found them worthily maintaining the principles of the 
Christian life. Their faithfulness and constancy sur- 
prised him. To-day, as the result of the missionary 
work herein described, there are not less than seven 
Presbyterian Churches among this people. A fact that 
illustrates the correctness of this estimate of the char- 
acter of the work done and its effect upon the Indians, 
occurred in the fifties, when Governor Isaac Stevens and 
his party traveled through that part of the country, mak- 
ing treaties with the Indians. It was necessary for him 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 227 

to pass through a region where they were in danger from 
hostile bands; the Nez Perces offered him protection 
and furnished an escort to guide and protect him. When 
Saturday night came they went into camp and remained 
there over Sunday. They said: "This is the Lord's 
day; we will not travel or work." They engaged in 
acts of devotion and worship instead of the usual week- 
day labor. 

Through all the dark days and years that followed 
the assassination of Dr. and Mrs. Whitman and the 
breaking up of the Mission, many of the Nez Perces 
maintained regular religious services among themselves. 

Alice Clarissa Whitman, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. 
Whitman, was born at Walla Walla, March 4, 1837, and 
was drowned in the Walla Walla River, June 23, 1839. 
She was the first American child born in this Pacific 
coast country among the missionary families. 

It has been claimed, and I have no reason to doubt 
the correctness of the statement, that the cost of the 
establishment and the maintenance of the Missions of 
the American Board east of the Cascade Mountains dur- 
ing the eleven years of their existence was forty thou- 
sand dollars. 

In April, 1838, when Mr. Lee was on his way to 
Washington with that immortal document, the memorial 
drawn by himself and Mr. P. L. Edwards, he stopped 
for a day or two at Dr. Whitman's, at Waiiletpu. Mr, 
Lee, in his Journal, describes this visit as follows : 

Dr. Whitman came and conducted us to the house; Mrs. 
Whitman met us at the door, and I soon found myself seated 
and engaged in earnest and familiar conversation as if we were 
old acquaintances. This was Saturday. On Sunday, the 75th 
of April, Mr. Lee said, "I had a very interesting time preaching 
to the Indians while the doctor interpreted." 

Digitized by 


228 The Conquerors 

Mrs. Whitman, in writing to her parents after this visit 
of Mr. Lee, and speaking of an Indian called Untippe, said: 
"Last Saturday he came here to spend the Sabbath. He said 
that he recently had two fainting turns, and that he could not 
live long." Sabbath, Mr. Lee preached and husband inter- 
preted. He (Untippe) said, The truth never cheered him be- 
fore. Always when he had attended worship his mind had been 
on those about him, but now it had been on what was said 
to him." 

Mrs. Whitman said, "Mr. Lee has spent some time with 
us, and we have been greatly refreshed by his prayers and 

A Changs ot Spirit Among the Indians. 

Suddenly the mutterings of discontent were heard; 
these continued and increased in volume as the months 
and the years went by. A spirit of hatred for the white 
people manifested itself. The lives of the missionaries 
were threatened and their safety imperiled. On the 29th 
day of November, 1847, Dr. Whitman and his wife were 

Whitman lived a useful life 

And died a martyr's death; 
Beside him was his noble wife, 
Faithful and true amid the strife 

And the encircling gloom. 

Their night of sorrow was sad and short, 

Its shadows soon passed away; 
Its darkness was overcome and lost 

In the light of their coronation day. 

The Cayuse Indians at Waiiletpu, for whom Dr. and 
Mrs. Whitman had kindly cared and for whose welfare 
they felt the tenderest solicitude, were the leaders in this 
massacre. Missionary work among the Nez Perces 
seems to have been accompanied with a larger degree of 
success than that among the Cayuses. This was due, no 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 229 

doubt, to the superior character of the Nez Perces, as 
compared to that of other tribes in Oregon. 

Revs. H. H. Spalding, Cushing, Eells, A. B. Smith, 
and E. Walker, with their families and other teachers 
and helpers, escaped with their lives, and the Missions 
east of the Cascade Mountains were abandoned. 

Immediately thereafter Colonel H. A. G. Lee, mili- 
tary commandant of that region, proclaimed that part 
of the country closed to missionaries. This was a mere 
form. It was closed with something more imperative 
than a military order. 

The work among the Indians east of the Cascade 
Mountains could not have continued if no such order 
had been issued. Although Messrs. Walker and Eells 
retained their connection nominally with the Missionary 
Board for a few years longer, this was the end of the 
work of the American Board of Commissioners for For- 
eign Missions among the Indians of Oregon. 

The Ashburton Treaty. 

During the period when, it is alleged, Oregon was 
in danger of being lost, and Dr. Whitman, as it is 
claimed, made his memorable midwinter journey and 
saved it, the Ashburton Treaty was being negotiated. It 
involved two questions; viz., the boundary line between 
Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire on the one side, 
and Canada on the other, which was in dispute, and the 
relative rights and privileges of the Americans and the 
Canadians in the fisheries of the New England coast 
The British side of the case was represented by Lord 
Ashburton, and the American side by Daniel Webster. 

Neither of these questions had anything whatever 
to do with the claim of the United States to the terri- 
tory of Oregon. 

Digitized by 


280 The Conquerors 

Dipwmatic Correspondence. 

The decided tone of the correspondence between the 
United States and Great Britain touching the Oregon 
question, and the boundary line thereof, is proof of the 
correctness of this statement 

ist. Hon. Henry Clay, Secretary of State, in a letter 
of instructions to Mr. Gallatin, our minister to England, 
touching the American claim to this Pacific coast country 
and the boundary line thereof, said: 

You are authorized to propose the annulment of the third 
article of the Convention of 1818 and the extension of the line 
on the parallel of 49 from the eastern side of the Stony Moun- 
tains, where it now terminates, to the Pacific Ocean, as the per- 
manent boundary between the territories of the two powers in 
that quarter. This is our ultimatum, and so you may announce it 

The letter bears date of June 19, 1826. (See Doc 
199, 20th Cong., Sec. 5, H. of R.) 

This language is certainly very explicit and decisive 
as to our claim, and the determination of the Govern- 
ment to maintain and secure their rights in the premises. 

2d. President Monroe, in his message to Congress 
in 1838, says: 

In looking to the interests which the United States have on 
the Pacific coast and on the western side of this continent, the 
importance of establishing a military post at the mouth of the 
Columbia River, or at some point in that quarter within our 
acknowledged limits, is submitted to the attention of Congress, 
our commerce on that sea is increasing. It is thought that a mili- 
tary post, to which our ships of war might resort, would afford 
protection to every interest 

To carry this object into effect, the appropriation of an 
adequate sum to authorize the employment of a frigate, to en- 
able the Executive to make such establishment at the most suit- 
able point is recommended to Congress. — (From records of 25th 
Congress, Second Session.) 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 281 

3d. Congress had on the 28th day of January, 1839, 
taken action on the bill outlined by Jason Lee and pre- 
sented by Mr. Linn ; though its provisions were not im- 
mediately carried out, it clearly foreshadowed the pur- 
pose of the Government to maintain its rights in Oregon. 

4th. Several exploring expeditions had been sent to 
the coast to secure information and open the way for 
the occupancy and settlement of the country. The ex- 
peditions under Generals Lewis and Clark, and that un- 
der Captain Wilkes, have been referred to in these pages. 
In addition to these Captain John C. Fremont was ap- 
pointed by the Government to the leadership of two 
exploring expeditions that had for their object the se- 
curing of information and opening the way for the 
American occupancy of the Oregon country. 

In 1842 he examined the South Pass and other ap- 
proaches to the country bordering on the Pacific Ocean. 

On May 4, 1843, ^ e left the town of Kansas with a 
picked company of thirty-nine men, for the purpose of 
examining the country between the Rocky Mountains 
and the Pacific. He was directed to connect his surveys 
with those of Captain Charles Wilkes. 

He camped for some time at The Dalles, on the 
Mission grounds of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 

His report elicited great praise from Congress and 
also from scientific men in the United States and Europe. 
Thousands of copies of his report were distributed 
throughout the country. 

5th. Five thousand dollars had been appropriated by 
the Government to assist in the outfitting of the mis- 
sionary expedition under Jason Lee in 1839. 

Not*.— The United State* Government sent out Col. Fremont (who was 
afterward known as the great pathfinder) to ascertain the most practicable route 
orer which the emigrants, who were the first fruits of Jason Lee's colonization 
work in Illinois and elsewhere, could reach the American mission settlement in the 
Willamette Valley, and thus save Oregon. 

Digitized by 


282 The Conquerors 

6th. Mr. William A. Slacum had been sent to the 
coast to make special investigation. 

7th. Elijah White had been appointed by the Presi- 
dent of the United States as sub-Indian agent for Oregon. 

There can be no mistake as to the meaning of these 
things, for but one interpretation is possible. 

The government would not and could not be putting 
forth efforts to make Oregon an American Common- 
wealth, and be guilty of such duplicity and double-dealing 
as would necessarily be involved in the case, if at the 
same time an effort was being made to barter Oregon 

8th. Mr. Daniel Webster, Secretary of State in 1840, 
wrote to Mr. Everett, our minister to England, as fol- 
lows : "The Government of the United States has never 
offered any line south of forty-nine, and never will, and 
England must not expect anything south of the forty- 
ninth degree." This statement is capable of no other 
construction than that it was the intention of the United 
States Government to maintain her rights in Oregon, 
without equivocation, compromise, sale, or barter of any 
kind or sort, as far north as the line indicated in this 
letter of instructions. 

9th. Assurances had been made to Jason Lee by the 
officers of the Government, of encouragement and help 
in behalf of his work in Oregon. The facts concerning 
some of these interviews are given in these pages, and 
many of the acts referred to are in the nature of a ful- 
fillment of the pledges made. 1 

The large sums of money expended upon the ex- 
peditions the Government had sent to Oregon, the 

1 The interest of the Government in the mission work of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church in Oregon had its beginning in 1833, when Bishop Emory had an 
interview with Mr. Raub, of the War Department, and when, at the suggestion of 
these officers of the Government, correspondence was begun with General Clark. 
{See first chaster in this book J 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 288 

great care and watchfulness required and, no doubt, 
given in their organization and management, these and 
other acts of a kindred nature had committed the United 
States Government to a course that involved the occu- 
pancy and control of the country. They give incontro- 
vertible proof of the fact that it was the intention of the 
Government to hold Oregon as far north at least as the 
49th parallel. And it will be observed that these events 
occurred and these statements were made previous to 
Dr. Whitman's famous and hasty journey across the con- 
tinent In view of these historical facts the claim that 
Oregon was about to be bartered away and that Dr. 
Whitman arrived in Washington just in time to have an 
audience with the President of the United States, and 
thus prevented the deal and saved Oregon, is a colossal 
absurdity and unadulterated nonsense. These acts and 
official utterances are unmistakably clear in the expres- 
sion of the purpose of the United States. The equip- 
ment and maintenance of the expeditions and special 
agents sent out to make expert investigations not only 
implied much interest and care in behalf of Oregon, but 
they signified something stronger and more definite than 
a mere implication; they were a positive affirmation of 
knowledge of, of interest in, and of determination to 
assert and maintain her rights in the case. The only 
thing that could have changed the clearly defined and 
oft expressed intention of the United States Government 
to hold Oregon would have been the continued prepon- 
derance in numbers and in influence of the settlers de- 
claring in favor of English supremacy. The country 
being open to joint occupancy, gave equal rights and an 
equal chance to the rival claimants in their efforts to 
secure national control. 

To avoid any contingency or uncertainty about the 

Digitized by 


284 The Conquerors 

outcome, encouragement was given by the Government 
to Jason Lee to assist him in the colonization of Oregon. 
His success in this great work was the crowning achieve- 
ment of his life and one of the important events of the 
nineteenth century. 

In a sense he was the agent of the United States 
Government in founding an American Commonwealth 
in Oregon, as well as the gifted leader of the movement 
to establish the missions of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church on the western coast of North America. 

Digitized by 



The Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church 

and the Missions of the American Board 

in Oregon Compared 

Whiu the missions established east of the Cascade 
Mountains by Drs. Whitman, Spalding, Eells, Gray, and 
Walker did much good among the Indians and contrib- 
uted in some degree toward American control on the 
Pacific coast, they were not in any sense potential fac- 
tors in the case and had but slight effect in determining 
the national status of Oregon. 

The settlement established by Jason Lee, and the 
work associated with it, was the key to the entire situ- 
ation. It was the one and the only American settlement 
ever made in Oregon where it was possible to outrank 
the Hudson Bay Company in numbers and in influence. 

Of the mission settlements established in the Oregon 
country by Jason Lee and Dr. Whitman, respectively, 
one was temporary, the other permanent. As we have 
seen, Dr. Whitman's mission had its beginning in the 
fall of 1836 at Waiiletpu, east of the Cascade Moun- 
tains, and was closed in the autumn of 1847. 

Jason Lee's mission was begun in the fall of 1834 in 
the Willamette Valley near Salem. It was the basis, 
the nucleus, and the frame work of an American settle- 
ment that has remained unto this day. 

The one mission consisted of a few missionaries and 
their families; the other embraced a large number of 


Digitized by 


286 The Conquerors 

missionaries, their families, and a constantly increasing 
number of home builders who came to the coast and be- 
came a part of the mission settlement and assisted the 
missionaries in the transition work that rapidly trans- 
formed the mission into a strong American colony. 

Dr. Whitman's mission was among the Indians ex- 

Mr. Lee's mission began with the Indians, but soon 
came to embrace a vigorous American settlement that 
was continuous, accretive, intensely American, and thor- 
oughly in earnest in their purpose and efforts to secure 
American supremacy in Oregon. 

The missionaries of the American Board were de- 
pendent upon the Hudson Bay Company for their sup- 
plies (except what they produced themselves). The 
missionaries of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1840 
became an independent and self-sustaining American 
settlement. They were not only able to take care of 
themselves, but were also able to assist in supplying the 
wants of the American settlers who came among them. 

The mission of the American Board founded no com- 
munities. One of the most potential factors in the work 
of the Methodist Mission was its colonization features. 
This was the determining element in the establishment 
of American institutions in Oregon. 

The mission of Dr. Whitman at Waiiletpu reached 
the zenith of its power in 1840, and seven years later 
was discontinued. The Methodist Mission settlement in 
the Willamette Valley took on a vigorous and decisive 
form of American life in 1840; it successfully maintained 
and strengthened its position, and solved the Oregon 
question in 1843 by establishing a Provisional Govern- 

When Dr. Whitman's mission was closed and the 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 287 

missionaries were gone, there was not a white person 
left in the settlement. The Indians who had occupied that 
part of the country for centuries only remained. 

The Oregon country east of the Cascade Mountains, 
where the missions of Dr. Whitman were located, was 
not occupied by Americans, nor was its permanent set- 
tlement begun for many years after the closing of the 
Whitman mission. 

A distinguishing feature in Mr. Lee's mission work, 
the significance of which was far-reaching, and one of 
the most important pivots upon which hinged the Amer- 
ican conquest of Oregon, was the transfer of his work 
in large part from the Indians to the white people. 

Thus his mission involved more than a temporary 
sojourn in the country to do Christian work among the 
Indians. It became a tentative American settlement, 
possessing the elements necessary to the maintenance 
of a healthful and permanent existence. 

Mr. Lee was able to make it such because of the 
great interest he had awakened throughout the country 
in behalf of Oregon. It was this awakening that caused 
the people to come to the coast in great numbers. 

It was this that brought large sums of money into 
the missionary treasury. 

It was this that led logically and naturally to the 
establishment of a strong American community and the 
laying the foundations of empire in the lands that skirt 
these Western seas. 

It was this that made Mr. Lee's movement for Amer- 
ican control in the southern half of the Oregon country 
a great success. 

During the formative period of American life in 
Oregon, from 1834 to July 5, 1843, it was impossible 
for the missionaries under Dr. Whitman to contribute 

Digitized by 


288 The Conquerors 

in any large degree to the solution of the Oregon question. 

They were in the interior of the country, isolated and 
separated by great mountain barriers from the larger 
bodies of Americans in Western Oregon. 

They did not, and could not, come in close touch with 
the active work of the American colonists in the Wil- 
lamette Valley in their efforts to secure American con- 
trol in Oregon, for, while they were deeply interested in 
this work and were anxious to assist in it in every way 
possible, the distance and the difficulties of cummunica- 
tion between the mission of Dr. Whitman and the mission 
headquarters of the American colonists in Western Ore* 
gon precluded the possibility of easy and frequent ex- 
change and of effective participation in the work of se- 
curing American supremacy in Oregon. 

And in addition to this, no American settlers identified 
themselves with the missions east of the Cascade Moun- 
tains with a view to establishing permanent homes in 
that region. 

No American settlement (other than that composed 
of the missionaries and their families) was founded 
there. For these reasons it was impossible for them to 
exert a determining influence upon the Oregon question. 

Oregon, the first American Commonwealth on the 
Western shores of North America, is the logical out- 
growth and product of the American settlement that pre- 
ceded it 

The interest of the Indians in the mission at Waiiletpu 
had been declining for some time. A spirit of dissatis- 
faction and unrest was manifesting itself among them. 
The American Board had decided to close the mission 
at that point. Dr. Whitman felt that something must 
be done immediately to strengthen his work with the 
Indians and also with the American Board. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 289 

It was this feeling that prompted him to make his 
memorable midwinter journey. He hoped to forestall, 
if possible, the decision that had been reached in Feb- 
ruary, 1842, to close the mission at Waiiletpu. 

Dr. Whitman was opposed to this action, and de- 
termined to put forth every effort in his power to pre- 
vent it, and resolved to visit the East immediately and 
try to satisfy the Board of the importance of changing 
their decision. 

A meeting of missionaries was called at Waiiletpu 
about the first of September to consider the proposed 
journey of Dr. Whitman. Messrs. Whitman, Walker, 
Eells, Spalding, and Gray were present. Mr. Eells, in 
giving an account of the meeting, says: "Mr. Walker 
and myself were decidedly opposed, and we yielded only 
when it became evident that he would go." 

Thus, under protest, they withdrew their opposition 
and voted to approve of his attempt to make the journey, 
because the sanction of the mission was necessary, in 
order to make an effective appeal to the Board in behalf 
of their mission work. 

The reason for holding the meeting herein referred 
to and for Dr. Whitman's haste to go East, was this: 
the Prudential Committee of the American Board passed 
the following resolutions relative to its Oregon mission 
stations, February 23, 1842: 

That the Rev. Henry H. Spalding is recalled, with in- 
structions to return by the first direct and suitable opportunity, 
that Mr. William H. Gray be advised to return home, and also 
the Rev. Asa B. Smith, on account of the illness of his wife; 
that Dr. Marcus Whitman and Mr. Cornelius Rogers be desig- 
nated to the northern branch of the mission, and that the two 
last named be authorized to dispose of the mission property in 
the southern branch of the mission. 

Digitized by 


240 The Conquerors 

From the records of the Prudential Committee of the 
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 
as given by Prof. E. G. Bourne, Professor of History in 
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, he is the 
author of "Essays in Historical Criticism," one of which 
is entitled "The Whitman Myth." 

We give herewith brief extracts from letters written 
by Rev. Elkanah Walker to the secretary of "The Ameri- 
can Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions" 
They present a view of the conditions that prevailed in 
the missions and confirm the statement made in these 
pages, that the object of Dr. Whitman's journey was 
in the interest of his mission. 

October 2, 1842. 

I have said in as short a space as I could what I thought it 
necessary to say on the importance of the mission and the 
relative importance of the two branches, and I think any one 
acquainted with the country and the location of the stations 
would admit it as correct, what has been said comparing the 
two branches. With this view of the case, you will be able to 
understand why we are so unwilling to abandon that part of 
the mission. 

We did think the design of your letter had been accom- 
plished by the reconciliation which had taken place. 

It was a trying time to us. We knew not what course to 
take, but concluded it was best to wait until we had an answer 
from you to the letter sent by the committee stating that the 
difficulties were all settled 

We found, too, that there was a difficulty in sustaining this 

In this state of things, a proposition was made by Dr. 
Whitman and supported by Mr. Spalding for him to return 
to the States this winter and confer with the committee, and 
conduct a reinforcement out next summer. The proposition was 
made to Mr. Eells and myself just as we were on the eve of 
leaving to return to our place. We felt that we could not then 
decide upon it, that, we wanted time to think and pray over 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 241 

the subject We proposed to return and give the subject our 
serious consideration, and write them our views, and were told 
that would be too late, as no time could be lost After more 
conversation, and feeling that something must be done, we came 
to the conclusion that if Dr. Whitman could put his station 
in such a situation that it would be safe to leave it, and make 
proper arrangements, we would consent to his going. We do 
not approve of the manner in which the question was decided, 
and nothing, as it seemed to us, but stern necessity led us to 
decide as we did It seemed like death to put the proposition 
in force, and death to remain in the state in which the mis- 
sion was. . • . 

January 23, 1843.— You could be no more surprised than 
we were, that he (Dr. Whitman) should go without the letters. 
. . . We were punctual, unless one day in advance of the 
time specified should be considered sufficient to destroy our 
punctuality. . . . 

I regret that my letter did not go by the Doctor, as I 
think the information it contains would be of service to the 
committee, and it would second, perhaps, the exertions of Dr. 
Whitman in inducing the committee to send a reinforcement 
to this field, or take some other measures in regard to it 
—From the manuscripts of Rev. Elkanah Walker, as given by 
Prof. B. G. Bourne. 

It would be quite impossible for any truth to be ex- 
pressed more forcibly and clearly than are the following 
facts in the letters of Rev. Mr. Walker. 

1st. That the conditions that prevailed in the work 
were discouraging to an extent that involved the exist- 
ence of the mission itself. 

2d. That the object of Dr. Whitman's journey was 
to improve them, and thus, if possible, preserve and 
strengthen his mission. 

3d. That there is not the slightest hint expressed or 
implied that this journey possessed any political signifi- 


Digitized by 


242 The Conquerors 

Hon. H. W. Scott, editor of the Oregonian, Portland, 
Oregon, in the issue of September 3, 1902, says of a book 
recently written by Prof. Wm. I. Marshal, of Chicago: 

It is a review of the Oregon question, with positive proof 
that the assumption that the Tyler administration was indif- 
ferent to Oregon was unfounded, and that Dr. Whitman could 
have exerted no influence to change the policy of the National 
Government toward Oregon, and that Dr. Whitman's relation 
to the great migration of 1843 was slight and practically un- 

Great service is done to the truth of history by this review. 
It is devotion to truth, not hostility to the memory of Whitman, 
that prompts the effort to clear this subject of its modern 
accretions of myth and fable. 

In the extensiveness of his knowledge of the early 
history of Oregon, Mr. Scott occupies a pre-eminent place 
among the journalists of the United States. 

Dr. Whitman did a great and good work. It is, how- 
ever, a colossal perversion of the facts of history to say 
that his visit to the Atlantic coast in the spring of 1843 
had a determining effect in securing American supremacy 
in Oregon. 

That Dr. Whitman's journey was made in the interest 
of his mission work, and not, as has been claimed, to 
save Oregon, is evident from the facts just given and 
also from other evidence of a contemporaneous character. 

But a few days previous to his going East he had 
seen and conversed with Dr. Elijah White and his com- 
panions, who were passing through the country where 
Dr. Whitman's mission was situated, on their way to 
the American mission settlement in the Willamette 

Dr. White was guiding a company of emigrants, num- 
bering about one hundred and thirty persons (adults and 
children), across the continent 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 248 

The coming of this band of American home builders 
was evidence in itself how the Oregon question would 
be settled. 

Whatever of doubt may have hitherto existed in re- 
gard to the growth of Jason Lee's missionary settlement 
and the triumph of the American contention through 
the instrumentality of his mission and work, that doubt 
was dispelled by the coming of this body of men, by the 
promise their presence gave of the larger numbers to 
follow in the reinforcement of this mission settlement, 
and by the action of the Government in sending a man 
to pilot them across the continent. 

The appointment of Dr. White as an officer of the 
Government to the people in the mission settlement was 
unmistakable proof, that even a child could have under- 
stood, that the Government was not only interested in 
the Oregon question but was putting forth effort to se- 
cure its solution, and was seeking to enforce and make 
good its oft repeated claim to the ownership of the Ore- 
gon country. 

With this object lesson before him, and fully cog- 
nizant of these facts that were big with meaning, Dr. 
Whitman went East, not to save Oregon, but to save his 
mission; for in the face of facts like these it is impos- 
sible to conclude that Dr. Whitman believed that Oregon 
was about to be lost to the United States. How any 
person then or now could believe this, with such a vast 
amount of incontrovertible evidence against it, and with- 
out a shadow of proof in its favor, is unaccountable. 
The appointment of Dr. White possessed great sig- 

It gave substantial aid to the emigrants referred to. 
Needed encouragement was given to the American mis- 

Digitized by 


244 The Conqueror $ 

sionarics in Oregon, The promises of assistance made 
to Jason Lee were being fulfilled. The emigration move- 
ment in Illinois, inaugurated by Mr. Lee in 1838, was 
greatly strengthened, and increased vitality was given to 
the Oregon sentiment and movement throughout the 
United States among the multitudes of people who were 
intensely interested in securing an American solution 
of the Oregon question. 

This action gave prima facie evidence to England 
and to the Hudson Bay Company that the United States 
Government would maintain its claim to Oregon. 

And these were the lessons that the Government de- 
sired to teach by this transaction, and the chief reason 
for making the appointment But for its intended effect 
in the directions herein referred to, it is probable that 
it would not have been made. 

This appointment was well timed, and intentionally 
so; it occurred just as the missionary colonists were 
coming into a position from which they could control 
the situation and secure American supremacy in Oregon ; 
when the emigration movement in Illinois (begun 
by Jason Lee in 1838) was reaching a point of effective- 
ness that would make certain the American occupancy 
and control of the Oregon country and insure an Ameri- 
can settlement of the Oregon question in the near future, 
in spite of all the opposition that the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany could bring against it ; when the Oregon sentiment 
created throughout the United States by the addresses and 
work of Jason Lee was reaching a climax of influence 
and prestige that was general, enthusiastic, and irre- 

For this time and for this opportunity the United 
States Government and the friends of Oregon had 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 245 

worked, watched, and waited since 1834, with increasing 
interest as the years went by. 

There was not a phase of the Oregon question but 
that the Government understood thoroughly, and at this 
time, above any that had preceded it, was the opportune 
period for the officers of the Government to give a clear 
and well defined announcement of their purpose in re- 
gard to the Oregon question, and it was done in this 

In taking this action it was important to avoid giving 
Great Britain unnecessary cause for bringing against the 
Government of the United States the accusation that 
it had violated and broken the terms of the joint occu- 
pancy treaty. 

This was the most effective as well as the mildest 
form of action (in a diplomatic sense) by which the 
purpose of the Government could have been reaffirmed 
at this critical period. 

The appointment of Dr. White was one of the im- 
portant acts in the closing scenes of the dual occupancy 
of Oregon. 

It was a notice to the world that the United States 
Government was about to take possession of the country. 
This action was official and authoritative, and it will be 
observed that it occurred previous to Dr. Whitman's 
journey East and that he was cognizant of the facts in 
the case. 

Dr. White had come direct to Oregon from Wash- 
ington, making a brief stop on the way at Jason Lee's 
emigration camp in Illinois. 

He was the bearer of important information from 
the Government to the American colony in the Wil- 
lamette Valley. He called them together and delivered 

Digitized by 


246 The Conqueror* 

to them the assurances of good faith that the Govern- 
ment had committed to his care, after which the follow- 
ing resolution was adopted by the people: 

Resolved, That we are exceedingly happy in the considera- 
tion that the Government of the United States has manifested 
its intention, through its agent, Dr. White, of extending its 
jurisdiction and protection over this country. 

Jason Lee had a very important correspondence with 
Hon. Caleb Cushing, touching the value of the Oregon 
country and the appointment of a man to act as gover- 
nor of it. A part of this letter is given elsewhere in 
these pages. There is no doubt but that this Indian 
agency was established as a result of the effort of Jason 
Lee. Though the Government acted conservatively and 
did not establish the office of governor, it found a way 
to give prestige and strength to the claim of the United 
States and recognition to the request of Jason Lee by 
appointing a man to an official position in the Oregon 

The appointment of Dr. White and making him 
the bearer of important messages to the American col- 
onists clearly indicated the purpose of the Government 
in regard to Oregon. 

After Dr. Whitman's interview with Dr. White and 
his company, ignorance on his part about the encourage- 
ment the Government was giving to the emigration move- 
ment, about the great awakening throughout the country 
in behalf of Oregon, about the determination of the 
Government to make good its claim to the ownership 
and control of the Oregon country, was absolutely im- 
possible, for the events and facts herewith referred to 
pointed with irresistible force and definiteness to but one 
conclusion; viz., that the United States, having assisted 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 247 

in the formation and strengthening of this American 
mission settlement, having appointed a man to make rep- 
resentations to the colonists of the purpose of the Gov- 
ernment, and also (in a limited sense) to represent the 
Government in the conduct of Oregon affairs, any other 
conclusion than that the Oregon question was in the last 
stages of its solution was unqualifiedly impossible. 

Dr. Whitman's desire and haste to go East was in- 
tensified by the coming of these men. They made known 
the conditions that prevailed east of the Rocky Moun- 
tains touching the Oregon question. 

He could not have failed to see in this the speedy 
realization of the hopes of the friends of Oregon in the 
early occupancy and control of the country. 

He desired that his mission at Waiiletpu, situated as 
it was on the emigrant trail, should not be closed, in 
order that the missionaries of the American Board might 
be able to render some assistance to the oncoming emi- 

He also must have believed that the emigration move- 
ment, so auspiciously begun, would strengthen his argu- 
ment before the American Board for the continuance 
of the mission, and he desired to bring these facts to 
bear upon the case before it was too late. 

While Dr. Whitman was absent in the East, Mrs. 
Whitman lived most of the time at the Methodist Mis- 
sion at The Dalles, with the family of the Rev. Daniel 
Lee. In the daily interchange of conversation with the 
family, with whom she enjoyed the closest friendship, 
not a word did she utter, covering a period of several 
months, that would indicate that the purpose of her 
husband's journey was to save Oregon. She spoke of 
the discouraging conditions that prevailed in the mission 
at Waiiletpu, and expressed the hope that the doctor's 

Digitized by 


248 The Conquerors 

visit would result in changing the decision of the Board 
and in giving new life to the mission, but never intimated 
that he had gone East for any other purpose than to 
secure help for his mission and deliverance from the 
destruction that threatened it 

An Important Statement, 

Rev. William H. Lee, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, 
son of Rev. Daniel Lee, says : 

I have frequently heard my father and mother speak of 
Dr. Whitman's visit East, and that its object was to secure 
help to strengthen his mission work. They did not understand 
nor was it ever intimated to them that his journey had in it 
any other purpose. 

Mrs. Whitman remained at my father's house at The Dalles 
from October, 1842, to April, 1843. She never stated that he 
had made the trip for any other reason than to save his mission. 

She manifested much solicitude about the mission and the 
result of the doctor's perilous journey, and often expressed the 
hope that he might be able to bring new life into their mission 

My parents never heard it hinted that the journey possessed 
any political significance until just previous to their death. 

WicH. U* 

In addition to this, during Dr. Whitman's absence, 
Mrs. Whitman wrote letters to friends in the East In 
not one of them (so far as known) did she intimate that 
any political importance attached to the doctor's journey. 

Prof. E. G. Bourne says: 

September 29, 1842, she wrote to her brother and sister, and 
the next day wrote to her parents, and committed these letters 
to the care of her husband to convey to her relatives. On the 
4th of March, 1843, at Wascopam (The Dalles), she wrote 
to Dr. Whitman. 

If Mrs. Whitman had known that the object of her 
husband in going East was to save Oregon, as claimed, 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 249 

she certainly would have said or written something 
about it 

If clouds surcharged with danger and death to the 
American cause were gathering about Oregon's natal 
skies, as claimed, and Dr. Whitman foresaw the ap- 
proaching calamity, he certainly would have intimated 
it to his wife, to Dr. White, or to some one with whom 
he conversed about Oregon affairs, on the eve of his 
departure for the Eastern coast. 

If, as alleged, signs of danger were manifesting them- 
selves along the line of Oregon's political horizon that 
threatened American interests on the Pacific coast with 
destruction, others as well as Dr. Whitman would cer- 
tainly have seen them. 

The friends of Oregon in large numbers, East, West, 
North, and South, were doing heroic work within the 
skirmish and battle lines of this great conflict. In view 
of these facts it is strange that it should be claimed and 
believed that Dr. Whitman, and he only and alone of 
this great number, was able to discover the danger that, 
it is alleged, was menacing the American cause in 

If Dr. Whitman claimed that Oregon was likely to 
be "lost to the United States," he was laboring under 
a strange hallucination; and if, in addition to this, he 
claimed that he "saved Oregon," he gave expression to 
an error of colossal proportions. 

We affirm the belief that he never uttered these words, 
and never made this claim, and was in no way responsible 
for the amazing distortion of the facts in the case. 

The claim that Dr. Whitman went East to save Ore- 
gon is based upon the assumption — 

ist. That Oregon was in immediate danger of be- 
ing lost. 

Digitized by 


260 The Conquerors 

3d That the President and the officers of the United 
States Government were ignorant of the danger referred 
to, and indifferent to American interests in Oregon. 

3d. That the object of Dr. Whitman's visit East was 
to enlighten them and awaken them from their indif- 
ference and induce the Government and the people of 
the United States to take immediate action in behalf of 
Oregon, and, having succeeded in this, he saved Oregon. 

4th. Such is the claim, and it is not only wholly and 
absolutely untrue, but it is an afterthought; it is not 
a part of the contemporaneous history of that period. 

5th. The truth is, there were thousands of people 
in die United States who knew vastly more about the 
political aspects of the Oregon question than did Dr. 

6th. The truth also is, Dr. Whitman did not have 
in his possession information of importance touching the 
Oregon question that was not already known to others. 

7th. It is also true that the alleged marvelous effects 
of Dr. Whitman's journey across the continent in the 
winter of 1842 and 1843, whereby it is claimed that 
Oregon was saved to the United States, is a myth pure 
and simple. 

8th. There was not the slightest danger of the sud- 
den and unheralded incoming of large numbers of people 
from the islands of the sea, from Canada, Great Britain, 
or from any other part of the world, that would offset 
the larger number of people whose feet Jason Lee had 
turned toward Oregon. The advance columns of this 
oncoming host reached the Pacific coast previous to Dr. 
Whitman's midwinter journey across the continent 

9th. The Government and the people of the United 
States at this date, the spring of 1843, had secured 
through the settlement made and the work done by Jason 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 251 

Lee, and the sentiment he had created, such a grip upon 
Oregon that this sentiment and work could not be 
checked. It made the dislodgment of his American col- 
ony practically impossible. At that time, as the facts in 
the case and subsequent events clearly prove, the Amer- 
ican colonists, under the leadership of Jason Lee, were 
standing upon the threshold of victory. In point of time 
and in point of fact they were within sight of the goal 
and their efforts were about to culminate in the estab- 
lishment of the Provisional Government 

This notable event, which occurred July 5, 1843, was 
but the realization of that which, a few months before, 
when Dr. Whitman began his journey east, was as cer- 
tain to come as is the light when the gates of the morn- 
ning are opened, and the visit of Dr. Whitman to Wash- 
ington had no effect whatever either in hastening this 
result or making it more certain, for the reason that the 
plans and the work that secured American supremacy 
in Oregon were in the last stages of their accomplishment 
when this visit was made, and forty journeys across the 
continent and a like number of interviews with the 
President by Dr. Whitman or any other man could not 
have changed the attitude or strengthened the action of 
the Government in its relation to the Oregon question. 
It could not quicken the pace with which events were 
hastening to their culmination. 

Mr. Lee had written his views of the value of the 
Oregon country and the rightfulness of the claim of the 
United States to it so deeply in the convictions of the 
American people, he had planned so wisely, wrought so 
effectively, and the hour of victory was so near and so 
certain, that no visits to Washington were necessary to 
secure the triumph of the American contention, nor to 

Digitized by 


25S The Conquerors 

stimulate the purpose of the people or of the Government 
in asserting and maintaining the claim of the United 
States to the Oregon country. 

Dr. Whitman succeeded in saving his mission by se- 
curing a stay of proceedings in the matter of closing 
his work at Waiiletpu, and he was greatly assisted, no 
doubt, in obtaining this concession by the coming to the 
coast of the emigration of 1842. The Oregon sentiment 
aroused by Jason Lee had taken such a strong hold upon 
the country that the American Board could not have 
failed to see that in a very short time the Oregon ques- 
tion would be settled by the incoming of hundreds, and 
even thousands, of American colonists. It would have 
been strange indeed if the Board had not shared with 
Dr. Whitman in the desire that the mission they had 
established at this place should remain open and be in 
a position to aid the emigrants as they passed through 
the country on their way to the Willamette Valley. We 
believe that to this fact is due the decision of the Board 
to rescind the order for the closing of the mission sta- 
tion at Waiiletpu. 

The truth is, the work of the mission among the 
Cayuse Indians was practically at an end in the fall 
of 1842, and never after was it able to rehabilitate itself 
or come in close touch with the masses of the Indian 
population of that region. 

The truth also is, after this date the threatening atti- 
tude of the Indians toward the missionaries at this sta- 
tion was such that their safety was imperiled and Dr. 
Whitman was repeatedly warned of the danger that 
finally culminated in his death and in the abandonment 
of the mission. 

The following summary of facts is worthy of note: 

1st. The object of Dr. Whitman's visit East in the 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 258 

fall of 1842 was to save his mission. The facts in the 
case clearly prove this. 

2d. This journey has been invested with a National 
significance that does not and never did belong to it 

3d. The claims of the author, or authors, of the 
"Whitman Saved Oregon" story are absurd and untrue. 

1st. As we have seen, it is not true, as claimed, that 
in 1842 Oregon was in danger of being lost This danger 
assumed alarming proportions from 1821 to 1834, during 
which time the Hudson Bay Company had possession 
of the trade of the country. They occupied Oregon and 
claimed ownership of it. 

In the fall of 1834 American community life was 
planted in Oregon in an organized and effective form. 
It continued to expand and intrench itself for a period 
of about eight years and nine months, or until the summer 
of 1843, when it was able to assume and ever after main- 
tain a controlling influence in the Oregon country. 

2d. It is not true, as claimed, that Oregon was in the 
market for sale or barter. This phase of the case was 
mere political gossip. It never amounted to anything. 

After the second "great missionary tour" of Rev. 
Jason Lee, in 1838 and 1839, an officer of the Govern- 
ment who would have favored bartering Oregon away 
would by that act have signed his own political death war- 
rant and committed official suicide. 

No action was ever taken by the Government of the 
United States that involved the sale or barter of the 
American claim to the Oregon country. 

Whatever of talk there may have been in regard to 
it was trivial, incidental, not official, and very unpopular. 

There were those, doubtless, who claimed that Oregon 
was of little worth, but they were comparatively few in 
number, and some of these, in the early stages of the 

Digitized by 


254 The Conquerors 

agitation of the Oregon question, after hearing the elo- 
quent appeals of Jason Lee and his matchless descriptions 
of the Orgon country, experienced a wonderful change 
of heart and became earnest and enthusiastic friends of 

3d. It is not true, as claimed, that the President or 
the officers of the Government were indifferent to or 
ignorant of Oregon affairs, or that there was some hid- 
den danger of colossal proportions of ghostlike appear- 
ance and hideous mien lurking behind the scenes, waiting 
to swoop down upon Oregon and bear her away to the 
camp of the Philistines, and that an interview had by Dr. 
Whitman with the President and his Secretary of State 
dispelled their ignorance and removed the danger by 
driving the ghost away. 

In his effort to frighten others, the big spook him- 
self must have been scared to death, for it is claimed that 
he never came back and has not been seen since. This 
was hard on the ghost, but his coming or his going out 
into the darkness, to be seen never more, did not in the 
slightest degree affect the American status of Oregon. 

No claim or statement was ever made that is more 
completely at variance with the facts in the case than is 
the "Whitman Saved Oregon" story, and no wonder, for 
it is based upon conditions that did not exist. 

The marvel is, how such a statement could be made, 
and, having been made, how any sane person in any way 
cognizant of the facts in the case could believe it 

That the officers of the Government should be igno- 
rant of, or indifferent to, the important matters of State 
committed to their care and with which they were brought 
in direct personal contact in the every-day work of their 
lives, and upon the skillful handling of which the suc- 
cess of their official labors depended, is inconceivable. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 255 

Their duties involved much diplomatic correspondence 
and demanded the widest information possible. The 
agitation and the publicity that was being given to the 
Oregon question was molding the political sentiment of 
the people of the United States and was also shaping 
the political destiny of Oregon. Under these circum- 
stances it was absolutely impossible for them to be ig- 
norant of the facts involved. 

Many of these officers had previous to Dr. Whitman's 
visit to Washington thoroughly committed themselves 
to a line of action for the Americanizing of Oregon, and 
were rendering effective service in the work that was 
rapidly bringing American supremacy to Jason Lee's 
mission settlement. 

The truth is, this subject had come to be invested 
with such political importance and popular favor that 
no officer of the Government could afford to ignore it or 
could be ignorant of any phase of the claim of the 
United States to the Oregon country. 

4th. It is not true, as claimed, that Dr. Whitman was 
responsible for the emigration that did so much to people 
Oregon. (See chapter on Emigration in this book.) 

The name and deeds of Dr. Whitman are worthy of 
an honored place in the history of this Pacific coast 

The effect of his work, however, in Americanizing 
Oregon is not what it has been claimed to be. Through 
no fault of his, many misrepresentations of the facts in 
the case have been made as to the causes that led up to 
the colonization of Oregon, the persons who were chiefly 
responsible for it, and the events that contributed most 
to securing American supremacy in this Pacific coast 
country, and because of this many erroneous opinions 

Digitized by 


256 The Conqueror* 

Dr. Whitman rendered very effective and timely 
service in guiding the emigrants of 1843 a part of the 
way to the place of their destination in Oregon. Their 
arrival subsequent to the establishment of the Provi- 
sional Government precluded the possibility of their par- 
ticipation in the work of its formation. Their coming 
strengthened the action that had been previously taken, 
and this only. 

The relation of the people of the United States to 
the Oregon question was not that of ignorance and in- 
difference, and, as we have shown, the claim of the United 
States to the Oregon country or to any part thereof was 
never in the shadow of the auction block, as has been 
claimed and as many have believed. And after the 
events of 1838, '39, and '40, there was not the slightest 
possibility, either actual or implied, that Oregon, espe- 
cially that part of it south of the 49th parallel, would 
continue long under the dominance of the Hudson Bay 
Company; with a strong American settlement already 
established, the citizens of which were formulating plans 
for the organization of a Provisional Government; with 
many on the way to Oregon to reinforce this settlement, 
while yet larger numbers were preparing to go to Oregon. 

With the coming of this host of home builders, backed 
by the settled and determined purpose of the people of 
the United States that Oregon should be a part of their 
National domain, made the American contention in- 
vincible and overwhelmingly certain of realization in the 
near future. And, strange to say, these were the exact 
conditions that prevailed in the fall of 1842 and the 
spring of 1843, when, it is claimed, the American cause 
in Oregon was on the verge of collapse. 

The facts given in these pages show clearly that the 
claim made that Dr. Whitman saved Oregon was ab- 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 257 

solutely impossible, for the reason that Oregon was not 
in danger of being lost, the President was not ignorant 
of Oregon affairs, the people of the United States were 
not indifferent to the destiny of Oregon, and this whole 
matter was at that time in the last stages of its solution. 

An Important Statement. 1 
Dr. H. K. Hines says: 

Immediately after the massacre of Dr. and Mrs. Whitman 
and the destruction of the mission at Waiiletpu, it became 
evident that an Indian war was inevitable. The Provisional 
Legislature met almost immediately. Among the measures it 
was thought necessary to adopt in this distressing emergency 
was the sending of a special messenger to Washington, giving 
information of the awful event and of the defenseless and im- 
periled condition of the people. 

There was at that time almost literally no money in the 

The only avenue through which the means necessary could 
be secured was the Methodist mission. 

The journey was a perilous one across the continent in 
winter on horseback, but a man was ready to essay the dangerous 
undertaking if the means to defray his expenses could be pro- 
vided. His name was Joseph L. Meek, and this bold offering 
of himself as a messenger in this momentous crisis, if he had 
done no other act, should place his name among the honored 
heroes of the Pacific Northwest 

Finding no other means of raising the amount required, 
application was made to Rev. William Roberts, superintendent 
of the Oregon Mission. 

Mr. Roberts says: 

During the winter of 1847-48, the Legislature met to devise 
means for carrying on the war. 

Money was needed to send a messenger to Washington. 

The superintendent of the Methodist mission was applied 
to for $1,500 to aid in the emergency. Jesse Applegate (noble 

1 The facts given in these pages afford clear and abundant proof of the cor- 
rectness of the foregoing statement of Dr. Hines. 


Digitized by 


258 The Conquerors 

man that he was!) was the commissioner. I furnished the 
funds. These were trust funds, and there was no security. 
It took some courage to handle the money, for we lived largely 
hy faith in those days. 

It was not within the power of any other man or men in 
the country to meet that emergency. 

Indeed, since the establishment of the mission, in 1834, until 
this date, in 1847, there had been no organization possessing 
sufficient financial resources and influence to have met the de- 
mands of the case and formed and held together the moneyless 
emigrants into a community with the elements of solidarity 
within it except the mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Advertising Oregon. 

Prof. William I. Marshall, principal of the William 
E. Gladstone School, Chicago, and member of the Ameri- 
can Historical Association, says: 

About no other territorial acquisition we have ever made 
had there been, before its accomplishment, anywhere nearly so 
much information published by the Government . . . Con- 
gress had printed for gratuitous circulation between 2,500,000 
and 3,000,000 copies of five reports of committees of the Senate 
and House of Representatives on Oregon, all unanimously 
adopted by the Senate or House, and all very eulogistic of 
the value of Oregon. 

Its easy accessibility by wagon via the upper Missouri 
route, and over Clark's (or Gibbon's) Pass, had been printed 
in all the various edtions of "Lewis and Clark's History of Their 
Expedition."— "History vs. the Whitman Saved Oregon Story," 
pages 223 and 224. 

And by the same author, on the 26th page of the same 

There was also the report of Captain Bonneville to the 
Secretary of War, in 1835* reporting his success in driving 
twenty loaded wagons through the South Pass over the Rocky 
Mountains and into the Oregon Territory, to Green River, in 
1832, popularized by Irvings Bonneville, published In New York 
and also in England in 1837, and very widely read in both 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 259 

countries. These committee reports were unanimous and all 
of them were enthusiastic as to the great value of Oregon 
to us, and the validity of our title at least as far north as 
49°. ... As early as 1831 the report of the Military Com- 
mittee of the Senate contained the letter of the Rocky Moun- 
tain Fur Company to the Secretary of War, dated October 
29, 1830, stating that in the preceding five years, with from 
eighty to one hundred men divided into small parties, they had 
explored the whole region beyond the Rockies from the Gulf 
of California to the mouth of the Columbia, and had made 
discoveries and acquired information that they deemed important 
to communicate to the Government. Then, after describing their 
driving ten wagons loaded with from 1,800 to 2,000 pounds each 
from St. Louis to the South Pass and back to St Louis between 
April 10 and October 10, 1830, they continue: "This is the 
first time wagons ever went over the Rocky Mountains, and the 
ease with which it was done proves the facility of communicat- 
ing overland with the Pacific, the route beyond the mountains 
to the Great Falls of the Columbia being easier than on the 
other side." The Great Falls of the Columbia are not only 
west of the Blue Mountains, but more than one hundred miles 
west of where Dr. Whitman six years later established his 

And again, on page 27 of the same book, the author 

Before March 1, 1843, in Presidential messages, in instruc- 
tion to diplomats negotiating with England and Russia about 
Oregon, in other executive papers, in correspondence and re- 
ports in Congress, and reports of Congressional Committees, 
the following statesmen are on record as holding that Oregon 
was of great value to the United States: The Presidents, 
viz., Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, J. Q. Adams, Jackson, Van 
Buren, Tyler, Polk, Pierce, Buchanan. Also Calhoun and King, 
Vice-Presidents. Also Webster, Clay, Everett Forsyth, Secre- 
taries of State; Livingston, Gallatin, and Rush, Ministers to 
England. Also Middleton, Gambreling, and Ingersoll, Ministers 
to Russia; and Archer, Baylies, Benton, Berrien, Lewis Cass, 
Rufus Choate, Caleb Cushing, John J. Crittenden, Drayton, 
Floyd, John Reed (Mass.), Taylor (N. Y.), R. J. Walker, 

Digitized by 


260 The Conquerors 

Woodburry, and many others, while not a single authentic 
sentence has ever been produced from any man of importance 
enough to have been President or Vice-President, or Minister 
to England or Russia, or Secretary of State, or a Senator for 
as much as one full term, which expressed any doubt of our 
title to all of Oregon south of 49°> or which intimated that we 
should surrender anything to Great Britain south of that line. 
It is true that President Tyler had, to use his own words, 
"A dream of policy never embodied," about selling that part 
of the present State of Washington north and west of the 
Columbia River to England, but this wholly impossible "dream 
of policy" necessarily implied, not surrendering it, but insisting 
on 49 as our line to the coast, since England certainly would 
not buy what we did not own. 

Mr. John Gill, of Portland ,who has given much at- 
tention to the facts embraced in the early history of 
Oregon, says: 

Hall J. Kelley, a Bostonian, became an active advocate 
for the American occupation and permanent settlement of 
Oregon. Mr. Kelley wrote extensively in publications of New 
England upon this subject for many years. He organized a 
society in Boston, under the name of the American Society 
for the settlement of the Oregon Territory. 

This society sent to Congress a memorial urging that troops 
be sent to Oregon for the protection of their projected settle- 
ment and setting forth the reasons for immediate occupation. 
— From the Pacific Christian Advocate, May 17, 1905. 

Facts About Oregon Were Published Very Ex- 

The Methodist papers and the work of Jason Lee 
made the Oregon question not only the most prominent 
subject before the American people, but they created a 
wave of patriotic enthusiasm in favor of the American 
ownership of Oregon that was irresistible, and the leaders 
of the Democratic party were wise enough to see their 
opportunity and improve it 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Cotmtry 261 

A large number of letters were published in the 
Christian Advocate and Journal and Zioris Herald, from 
1833 to 1844, written by the missionaries in Oregon, bear- 
ing the signatures of Rev. Jason Lee, Rev. Daniel Lee, 
Miss Anna M. Pittman, Rev. David Leslie and Mrs. Les- 
lie, Rev. John P. Richmond, Rev. A. F. Waller, Dr. 
Elijah White, Miss Margaret Smith, Cyrus Shepard, 
Hon. Geo. Abernethy, the first governor of Oregon, and 

They embrace descriptions of the cotmtry, its scenery, 
its climate, the richness of the soil, its productiveness, 
the largeness and variety of the resources of Oregon, and 
its desirableness as a place for permanent homes; the 
mission work, the difficulties to which they were subject, 
their isolation, and their loneliness ; the satisfaction they 
experienced in the conviction that they were walking in 
the path of duty ; their attachment to the work in which 
they were engaged, and the belief they entertained that 
their reward would be certain and abundant. 

These letters, together with a large amount of other 
matter touching the Oregon question, such as the causes 
that led to the establishment of the mission of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church in Oregon, the provisions made 
by the managers of the Missionary Society for the 
touring of the country by Jason Lee in 1833 and 1834 
and in 1838 and 1839, and the announcement made in 
the papers of his appointments in the two great mission- 
ary campaigns he conducted in behalf of Oregon on the 
Atlantic coast and through the West and the Southland. 

The reports published of his addresses, the money 
raised, the publication of the facts involved in the out- 
fitting of the great missionary expedition, all of which 
was brought to the attention and laid upon the hearts of 
the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the 

Digitized by 


262 The Conquerors 

United States and to the notice of the general public 
through the columns of these religious journals, the 
weekly circulation of which was as great or greater than 
that of any religious papers in the United States. 

Add to this the weekly circulation of the religious 
journals published by the Congregational and the Pres- 
byterian Churches, which, beginning in 1836, published 
the accounts and descriptions of die mission work in 
Oregon under the supervision of Drs. Whitman, Eells, 
Walker, and Spalding, established by the American Board 
of Commissioners. There can be no question but that 
other religious journals, not officially connected with 
either of the missions referred to, as a matter of infor- 
mation for their patrons and encouragement to their own 
missionary enterprises, published frequent and extensive 
references to the Oregon country and the mission work 
established there. 

The knowledge of Oregon thus brought to public 
notice and the general agitation of the subject caused 
thereby was not only of inestimable value in securing 
American control on the Pacific coast, but they were de- 
termining factors in the settlement of the Oregon 

In Sartiaris Union Magazine, published in Phila- 
delphia beginning in the forties, are occasional references 
to the Oregon country. In one of the numbers there is 
an article entitled, "The Golden Future, or Our Empire 
of the West," in which the writer refers to the Lewis 
and Clark Expedition and the work of the missionaries 
"in binding together the lands of the Pacific and the 

He speaks of "well built forts in the Oregon country 
over which floated the flag of the Hudson Bay Company. 

He writes about "the schoolhouses and the churches" 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 268 

connected with the American mission settlements, and of 
"the verdure of the perpetual springtime" that, he says, 
prevails in the Willamette Valley. 

We give a few excerpts from this article : 

In the West our political supremacy is found. . . . The 
isles of the Pacific are our neighbors. ... At our Western 
doorway lies the wintry coast of Russia, the heart of European 
despotism. . . . Broad rivers leading to the center of North- 
ern Asia invite our future commerce. . . . Mysterious Japan 
and isolated China must find in us the nearest source of a 
more humanizing philosophy, and where reason fails to enter, 
commerce will force its way. 

Power travels westward, and with the key of commerce in 
our hands we are for the coming age the destined heirs of 
power. Extension of dominion we seek not, but the empire 
of opinion; who shall deprive us of it? 

Standing forth the beacon-star of human liberty, hated and 
feared by every enemy of human rights. . . . 

With all these proofs of Heaven's own guidance, shall we 
not consummate our mission? Answer, ye pioneers of freedom. 
To you, and such as you, we owe the miracle of the nineteenth 
century— you who forego the comfort of old States to trundle 
wheelbarrows across the continent . . . You prove before 
the tyrants of your race the native worth of man. ... Go 
on, until you touch the swarming hives of Asia, and west- 
ward, westward still, until you pass the birthplace of mankind, 
and the earth itself is embraced in the blaze of human liberty. 

The miracle of the nineteenth century, as seen by this 
writer, was the occupation and control of the Oregon 

Within the sweep of his vision, with it in the hands 
of the American people, he foresaw the overthrow of 
pagan altars ; the ultimate downfall of the effete systems 
of despotism that had so long prevailed in Asia and the 
islands of the sea; the establishment of commercial re- 
lations between us and the people of other lands; the 
opening of a highway through the nations of the earth 

Digitized by 


264 The Conquerort 

for the triumph of the gospel and the dissemination 
among the people of every race and clime of the prin- 
ciples of truth, of liberty, and of righteousness. 

In connection with the article appeared pictorial rep- 
resentations of the forts at Vancouver and Walla Walla, 
erected by the Hudson Bay Company. 

There were also pictorial representations of the 
Methodist Mission headquarters in the Willamette Val- 
ley and at The Dalles. Copies of these are given in 
this book. 

Rev. John P. Durbin, D. D., at one time president of 
Dickinson College and later corresponding secretary of 
the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, a friend of Jason Lee and a prince among the 
great and good men of his day, wrote frequently for this 
magazine. He often with voice and pen gave expression 
to the belief that the coast of the Oregon country would 
become one of the great trade centers of the world and 
that one of the greatest cities on the globe would in the 
coming years be located on Puget Sound. 

It is probable that he was in some measure respon- 
sible for the good things that appeared in the magazine 
about Oregon. 

The Secular Press. 

That the secular press made frequent references to 
Oregon and to Jason Lee is evident in the fact that the 
people in large numbers heard him and were intensely 
interested in his descriptions of Oregon and of his work 
there. It is also evident in the fact that soon thereafter 
the great political party herein referred to adopted the 
secular side of the Oregon question, one of the phases 
of the very theme about which Jason Lee had talked and 
wrote, as their party Shibboleth and popularized their 
campaign with a great deal of fiery oratory as they went 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 265 

forth, with the motto "54-40 or fight" emblazoned upon 
their banners, and swept the country like a whirlwind. 
Their torchlight processions, bearing Oregon mottoes, 
could be seen at night, and thus they went into the cities, 
towns and villages, into the farming communities and 
sparsely settled districts, and into the backwoods settle- 
ments throughout the country, everywhere proclaiming 
that Oregon rightfully belonged to the United States and 
that the especial business of the party in that campaign 
was to see that her rights in the case were secured. 

It was not the name, the prestige, nor the greater 
numbers and influence of the Democratic party as such 
that defeated the Whigs and won the election ; it was the 
powerful leverage of the Oregon question. Jason Lee 
had placed the Oregon movement in the front rank of 
the popular questions of the day. His eloquent descrip- 
tions of the Pacific coast country, and the extensive ad- 
vertising Oregon received as the result of his addresses 
and work, did more to carry that election than was done 
by the Democratic orators and party managers. 

It is safe to say that the publication of information 
relative to the acquisition of other territory by the United 
States has been the merest bagatelle in volume when 
compared to the larger amount of information given, 
both oral and written, about Oregon. 

Facts Touching the Action o* Congress on the 
Oregon Question. 

Excerpts from the Alton Telegraph, published at Al- 
ton, Illinois, and The Illinois State Journal and The Illi- 
nois State Register, published at Springfield, Illinois : "" 

January 4, 1837, Mr. Cushing reported to the House a 
bill for the protection of the citizens of the United States in 
the Territory of Oregon, which was read and referred. 

Digitized by 


266 The Conquerors 

Mr. Cashing also presented a report on the same subject, 
and ten thousand copies were ordered to be printed for distri- 

February 22, 1839. — The Senate took up the bill to provide 
protection to the citizens of the United States residing in 
Oregon Territory. After a debate, which was continued on the 
23d and the 25th, the bill was referred to the Committee on 
Foreign Relations. 

February 27, 1839, the President laid before the Congress 
sundry documents relative to the Oregon country, which were 
referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. 

December 31, 1839.— On the 12th in the Senate, Mr. Linn 
offered resolutions requesting the President to give notice to 
the British Government that the Convention with Great Britain, 
by which both parites may occupy Oregon, must cease after 
twelve months; that the laws of the United States should be 
extended over the Territory; that a regiment should be raised 
for the protection of the people of Oregon, and that every 
white male who emigrates to Oregon shall be allowed six 
hundred and forty acres of land. 

On the loth of February, 1840, Mr. Linn introduced in the 
Senate a resolution authorizing the printing and distribution of 
a historical account of the claims of the United States to Oregon, 
which was agreed to. It embraced 10,000 copies. 

January 6, 1841, Mr. Linn introduced a bill in the Senate 
providing for the extension of the laws of the United States 
to the Territory of Oregon, and for the organization of a 
court and government It was read and referred. 

Yet it is claimed, after the extensive publication of 
facts about Oregon involved in reports, made of explor- 
ing expeditions, and special agents, and Congressional 
reports and debates ; after the vast amount of advertising 
that Oregon received from the newspapers of the country, 
both religious and secular; after the many addresses of 
Jason Lee in different parts of the country before large 
and enthusiastic audiences ; after the memorials and pe- 
titions sent to Washington by the American missionary 
colonists ; after the people of the United States, as a re- 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 267 

suit of their knowledge of and their interest in Oregon, 
had, in response to their convictions of duty, put over 
one hundred and seventy-three thousand dollars into the 
missionary treasury of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
to Christianize and Americanize Oregon; after Jason 
Lee had inaugurated the emigration movement in Illinois 
that was not only rapidly reinforcing the American Mis- 
sion settlement in the Willamette Valley, but, by its force 
and enthusiasm, gave promise of bringing large numbers 
of American home builders to the Pacific coast in the 
immediate future, and all this followed by a political 
party in a Presidential campaign making a great spec- 
tacular display of the Oregon question and advertising 
it as the most important and greatest subject in their 
stock of arguments and the sign by which they expected 
to conquer — after all this the astounding claim is made 
that the people of the United States and the officers of 
the Government at Washington were ignorant of the con- 
ditions that prevailed. 

After the extensive correspondence, publicity, and 
agitation herein referred to, the general and the enthu- 
siastic interest manifested in behalf of Oregon through- 
out the United States, ignorance of Oregon affairs, and 
indifference to them by the officers of the Government 
and the American people was absolutely impossible. 
After this, the conditions were such that Oregon could 
not be lost, stolen, sold, or bartered away. The claim 
that this was the case is ridiculous and has not even the 
semblance of truth to sustain it. 

After this, there was no room for doubt, uncertainty, 
or diplomatic quibbling about the outcome of the Oregon 
question, for, so far as the ownership of that part of 
Oregon was concerned of which Jason Lee's army of 
occupation had taken possession, all these elements had 
been entirely eliminated and but one result was possible. 

Digitized by 


268 The Conquerors 

The truth is, the rightfulness of the claim of the 
United States to Oregon had become so thoroughly in- 
wrought in the convictions of the people, and the move- 
ment to make it a part of the National domain had at- 
tained such strength and momentum, that success was 
absolutely certain. 

These and kindred facts show the utter untenability 
and falsity of the "Whitman Saved Oregon" story and 
the amazing credulity that is necessary to believe it. 

In the light of the facts given in these pages this 
statement and claim is absurd to a degree bordering upon 
absolute silliness. 1 

1 The fact that many have given credence to this story made the examination 
Of the claim and the assumptions upon which it is based necessary, but for which 
this phase of the subject would not have been referred to and this chapter would 
not have been written. 

Digitized by 


Map of the Original Oregon Country 


Locked in the sleep of the ages 
Was the Oregon of the long ago. 
To her at last the message came 
Of hope and light in Jesus' name. 
In the years agone, none could boast 
Of the trade life of this Western coast 
Now our harvets, rich and golden, 
With fruit and grain our garners fill, 
While the freighters of modern times, 
Laden with wealth from other climes, 
Pass through our gates, that are ajar 
Because missionaries from afar 
Have opened the way to Oregon. 
They also bear across the seas 
The products of our factories, 
Our forests, mills, mines, and fields, 
To those who live in other lands. 
Thus the mission ground of Jason Lee 
In these later years has come to be 
One of the trade centers of the world. 

The name Oregon was applied originally to a large 
extent of country. It embraced what is now known as 
the States of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, a part of Mon- 
tana and Wyoming, and all of British Columbia. 

It contained an area of over 700,000 square miles. 

It was bounded on the north by Russian America 

Digitized by 


270 The Conquerors 

(now Alaska), on the east by the Rocky Mountains, on 
the west by the Pacific Ocean, and on the south by 

This map (outline), together with the description ac- 
companying it, gives the location, the names, and some 
important facts concerning the present condition of the 
different parts of the original Oregon country. 

The State of Oregon, as it now appears upon the map 
given herewith, embraces an area of 96,030 square miles. 

It was constituted a Territory by act of Congress 
March 3, 1849, and was admitted as a State into the 
Federal Union February 14, 1859. 

Oregon is known as the "Webfoot State." 

The scenic features and conditions that prevail in the 
Oregon country are worthy of special mention. 

When, in the years of the long ago, the Columbia 
opened a pathway for herself through the Cascade Moun- 
tains, a scene of marvelous beauty and grandeur came to 
view. Waters from innumerable rivulets and streams 
broke through the great mountain wall. The barriers 
were swept away and the imprisoned waters rushed 
madly onward to the sea, the waterfalls and the bridal 
veils appeared, and the mountains rising in stately gran- 
deur on either side of this majestic waterway were silent 
witnesses to the birth of one of the greatest rivers and 
some of the greatest scenery on the continent 

The Columbia is one of the great rivers of the world. 
It drains about 350,000 square miles of territory, includ- 
ing a large part of the agricultural areas of the old Ore- 
gon country. 

The headwaters of the Columbia and of the Missouri 
are not far apart. 

The source of each of them is in the Rocky Moun- 
tains, in about the same degree of latitude. The one 

Digitized by 













Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 271 

flows south and east for about 2,000 miles, and empties 
into the Atlantic Ocean. The other flows west, or a lit- 
tle south of west, and empties into the Pacific Ocean. 

The Columbia has many tributaries, along the banks 
of which, as well as skirting the shores of the main river, 
there is some of the grandest scenery in the world. 

The Coast and the Cascade range of mountains par- 
allel each other and are about sixty to eighty miles apart, 
running north and south, with latterals in a few cases 
running east and west Numerous peaks are from 4,000 
to 8,000 feet high. 

Some are of a greater altitude than this, and are 
seen from afar; their domes pierce the clouds and are 
crowned with perpetual snow. 

Among the great peaks of Alaska are Mt. McKinley, 
Foraker, and St. Elias; of Washington, Baker, Rainier, 
Adams, and St. Helens; of Oregon, Mt. Hood, The 
Three Sisters, and Jefferson; of California, Mt. Shasta 
and Whitney. 

These giant hills through the years and the centuries 
are covered with a mantle of snow and crowned with a 
majesty that is kingly and divine. 

In Western Oregon are the Willamette, the Umpqua, 
the Rogue River, and other valleys. They embrace large 
areas of rich valley and table lands that are remarkable 
for their fertility and productiveness. 

Much of the hill and prairie lands are very productive 
and are adapted to the growth of wheat and fruit, and 
other farm products. 

In Eastern Oregon there are many stock ranges, 
where herds and flocks are seen in large numbers. 

There is much timber along the western shore line 
of Oregon and upon the streams that empty into the 
Pacific Ocean; also upon the lands bordering upon the 

Digitized by 


272 The Conquerors 

streams that flow into the Columbia River, and in the 
foothills of the Cascade Mountains. 

At many points in this timbered region there are mills 
that turn out a large amount of rough and finished 

The fish product of Oregon is very extensive. The 
Columbia River salmon are the finest of their kind in the 

The resources of Oregon are varied and extensive. 

The Oregonian of January 2, 1905, gives a summary 
of the products of the State, as follows : 

Dairying— z6jb66j6oo gallons of milk were produced in Ore- 
gon in 1904. The value of this output aggregated $4,000,000. 
Dairy products for that year, including butter, cheese, and cream, 
increased this amount to over $7,000,000. 

Wool— The clip in Eastern Oregon exceeded 17,000,000 
pounds. In Western Oregon over 2,000,000 pounds were pro- 
duced, making the total production of the year 19,000,000 pounds. 
Value, $2,850,000. 

Live Stock— There are in the State over 4488,000 head of 
horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs, the value of which is $25,000,000. 
Of this amount range cattle aggregate $14,000,000. 

Hops— The aggregate crop was 82,500 bales, or 16,000,000 
pounds, the value of which was $4,000,000. 

Wheat — 12,950,000 bushels were produced, the estimated 
value of which was $8$o6,ooo. For the year 1905 the wheat 
product of Oregon amounted to 13,700,000 bushels. 

Oats— 3,221,774 bushels were raised; value, $1,224,704. 

Barley— 639,378 bushels; value, $311,572. 

Fruit — Apples, peaches, pears, prunes, cherries, plums, and 
the smaller fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, 
etc., are produced in enormous quantities and are of excellent 

In the Willamette Valley there was raised last year $50,000 
worth of grapes, and the Hood River Valley produced straw- 
berries the market value of which was about $200,000. 

According to the report of Mr. G. H. Lamberson, Secretary 
of the State Board of Horticulture, the value of the fruit product 
of 1904 was as follows : Apples, $885,000; prunes^ $310,000; pears, 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 278 

$160,000; peaches, $175,000; strawberries and other small fruits, 
$710,000; total, $2,240,000. 

Lumber— Number of mills, 480; output, 1405,000,000 feet; 
value, $12,650,000; wages paid (1904) $2,612,500. 

Banks — The banks of the State have seen enormous activity 
during the year just closed. Eight million one hundred and 
thirty-eight thousand two hundred and thirty-eight dollars has 
been added to the accumulated wealth of the people. In Novem- 
ber, 1904, $63,753,753 was on deposit in the banks of the State. 

The mineral resources of Southern and Eastern Oregon are 
extensive, especially in the production of gold. 


Her location, resources, and name 
Will bring her honor, wealth, and fame. 
# Her inland seas are deepest, best 
Of any of which the coast is blest; 
Her commerce will be very great, 
The bulwark of a mighty State. 
Rich harvests, too, her garners fill 
And fatten the empty purse and till. 
In her lap Alaska dumps the gold 
And other things her coffers hold. 
To her ports the leviathans come 
From the lands beyond the seas, and some 
Rich treasures bring. 

The State of Washington owes its name to a mem- 
ber of Congress from Kentucky — a Mr. Stanton. 

A petition to be set off as a separate Territory from 
Oregon was presented to Congress in 1852. 

The Territory was created March 2, 1853. The name 
proposed was Columbia. Mr. Stanton said: 

We already have a Territory of .Columbia, but we have 
never dignified a Territory by the name of Washington. I desire 
to see a sovereign State bearing the name of the father of this 
Country, and therefore move to strike out the word "Columbia" 
wherever it occurs in the bill and insert instead thereof the 
word "Washingon." 

Digitized by 


274 The Conquerors 

It is worthy of note that the ratification by Congress 
of the provision that had been made for the admission 
of this Territory into the family of States was made on 
Washington's Birthday, February 22, 1889, and the quill 
with which President Cleveland signed the document 
was plucked from the wing of an American eagle. 

Major Isaac Stevens was the first governor of the 
Territory. By proclamation made from the summit of 
the Rocky Mountains, September 29, 1853, he announced 
his assumption of the duties of the governorship. 

Stevens County, in this State, was named in his honor. 
The State government was organized in 1889, and soon 
thereafter this large county was divided and the new 
part was named Ferry County, in honor of Hon. Elisha 
P. Ferry, the first governor of the State. Washington 
is known as the "Evergreen State." 

The area of the State is 69,180 square miles. 

It is divided into two parts by the Cascade Mountains. 
The climate east of the Cascades is a little colder in 
winter and slightly warmer in summer than it is in the 
western part of the State; there is also less rainfall in 
the eastern part. 

Washington occupies a favored place in the trade 
belt of the world. 

The products of Eastern Washington are chiefly of 
an agricultural and mineral character. The soil in many 
parts of the State is rich and productive. 

The following is the amount and value of the several 
products named that were raised in the State in 1900: 
Wheat, 25,000,000 bushels; oats, 5,187,008 bushels; 
barley, 4,853,191 bushels. 

The estimated value of the agricultural products of 
the State for that year was $36,000,000. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 275 

The wheat product of the State for 1905 amounted 
to 34,100,000 bushels, and in 1907 to 40,000,000 bushels. 

The grass-growing capabilities of the State, especially 
of Western Washington, are not excelled in the United 

There is no part of the country where grass will 
grow more easily and can be cultivated more successfully 
than in the region originally known as the Oregon 

Grass means food and life for cattle, horses, hogs, 
and sheep. It means milk, butter, and cheese for the 
markets, and meats for the larders of the people, and 
money for the pockets of the men who produce them. 
In the not remote future Oregon, Washington, Idaho, 
Montana, and British Columbia (the old Oregon country) 
will be one of the most noted dairy sections of North 

It is the ideal home for the cow and the dairy. 

The following tabulated statement is taken from the 
report of Mr. E. A. McDonald, State Dairy and Food 
Commissioner, for the year ending November 1, 1904: 

There are 412 creameries in the State, and the butter product 
for the year was 7,566,769 pounds. There are thirty-seven cheese 
factories in the State, and the amount of cheese manufactured 
last year was 526,201 pounds. 

Mr. McDonald says: 

The development of the condensed milk industry has been 
more rapid than the most sanguine expected. 

The value of the products exported from September 1, 1905, 
to August 1, 1904, eleven months, was: 

Alaska $177,984 

Foreign countries 263*149 

Total values, amount exported $441,153 

Digitized by 


276 The Conquerors 

Live Stock. 

The following statement is from the Commissioner 
of Statistics for the State of Washington for 1904: 

Number Value 

Horses (including mules) 189*746 $4,279430 

Cattle 397,267 5,887,085 

Sheep 633^58 949,493 

Hogs 9<M49 29^341 

Fish product 7,315,921 

The fruit product of the State is remarkable for its 
excellence and the largeness and the variety of the supply. 


Mr. C. F. Bowen, State Inspector of Coal Mines, in 
his report for 1903 gave the following facts about the 
coal production of this State: 

Number of mines in operation 32 

Number of men employed 4*876 

Amount paid in wages $3,982,184 

Output (tons) 3,100,477 

Total value of coal and coke products $6,620,534 

The coal producing capabilities of the State are in 
the infancy of their development. 

The supply is well nigh inexhaustible. 

The Pacific Lumber Trade Journal, a reliable paper 
published in Seattle, gives the following facts about the 
lumber product for 1904: 

Sawmills in State of Washington 439 

Shingle mills in State of Washington 441 

Output of sawmills, cargo and rail ship- 
ment (feet) 1,325,324,906 

Value of output $13,253,249 

Output of shingle mills (shingles) 5,759,640,000 

Value of shingle output $7,530,103 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 277 

Employees in mills, logging camps, sash and 

door factories, and other allied industries 81,000 

Amount of wages paid $47,000,000 

Amount of lath produced 135,111,603 

Value of the product $236444 

These figures do not represent the entire lumber product 
of last year. If the vast quantity of lumber used in local con- 
sumption were included, it is probable that the value of the 
lumber products of the State would aggregate $50,000,000 to 
$60,000,000. In many instances, exact figures are not obtainable. 
Figures given stand for known quantities, based upon reports 
furnished this office by the manufacturers. 
Very truly yours, 

Pacific Lumber Trade Journal. 

During the fishing season there are large numbers of 
men in Western Washington engaged in the fish industry. 

More salmon are caught and packed in this State 
than in any other part of the world with the same area 
of waters. 

Puget Sound possesses commercial advantages that 
are unequaled. The location is such that the waters of 
this inland sea touch the shorter lines of communication 
in the circumnavigation of the globe. 

The distance from New York to China, Japan, and 
Manila via Puget Sound is over one thousand miles less 
than by the southern route. 

This difference in distance, with other advantages of 
equal magnitude, will make Puget Sound in the not 
remote future one of the leading trade centers of the 

The depth of water, numerous harbors, ease of en- 
trance and exit, the immense wealth of the country trib- 
utary to Puget Sound, together with the several trans- 
continental lines of railroad and trans-Pacific steamship 
lines that will meet at this point to exchange their bur- 

Digitized by 


278 The Conquerors 

dens, all combine to give to these inland seas a com- 
mercial prominence that will be world-wide. 

Puget Sound occupies a central and strategic position 
on this great coast line, and the promise of her future 
is not outranked by that of any port upon the face of 
the earth. 

The genesis of names in Western Washington is a 
matter of interest 

In 1592 a Greek navigator claimed to have discovered 
the straits that bear his name, "Juan de Fuca." 

In 1790 a Spanish exploring expedition entered the 
straits; they added something to the information pre- 
viously obtained and left the impress of their work be- 
hind them in the names they gave to the waters they 
visited. Thus we have Canal de Haro, Sequim Bay, 
Rosario Strait, and Camano Texada, Port Angeles, San 
Juan, Lopez, Guemes, and Fidalgo, and other names of 
a kindred sort 

In 1792 Captain George Vancouver, with the British 
sloop Discovery, entered these waters. He named Puget 
Sound after one of his officers, Peter Puget, and Hood's 
Canal after Lord Hood. Mount Baker was named in 
honor of one of his officers, Lieutenant Baker. He gave 
us the names Protection Island, Marrow Stone Point, 
Foulweather Bluff, Deception Pass, Port Orchard, Cy- 
press Island, and Vancouver Island. 

In 1841 Captain Charles Wilkes gave names to places 
as follows : Port Ludlow, Port Gamble, Seabeck, Useless 
Bay, Quarter Master's Harbor, Elliott Bay, Point-No- 
Point, Mount Constitution, etc. Many of the names 
given to places and rivers at a later period were of Indian 
origin. Thus we have Duwamish, Samamish, Snowqual- 
mie, Skagit, Lummi, Nooksack, Skoo-Kum Chuck (Skoo- 
Kum-Strong, Chuck- Water, Strong-Water), and many 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Cotmtry 279 

others of like import, that bear the earmarks of their 
Indian lineage. 

Puget Sound is the beginning of a system of inland 
waters, interspersed with islands, forming a great archi- 
pelago, the scenic grandeur, extent, and utility of which 
is not excelled in any part of the globe. 

They extend from the headwaters of Puget Sound 
at Olympia north and west for several thousands of 
miles, touching the coast of British Columbia and Alaska, 
and embrace the Aleutian Archipelago, which fringes the 
shore line of the coast of Asia. 

Many of these islands are rich in minerals, and the 
soil in some parts is very productive. 

The waters abound with fish. The climate is mild 
and equable. 

The landscape reveals comely forms robed in gar- 
ments of divers color and attractiveness. 

Here the hand of the Great Artist has touched the 
canvass with lavish skill and given to nature a charm 
and a loveliness that is queenly and divine. 


The first settlement in the country embraced in the 
State of Idaho was made by Captain J. Wyeth, a trapper 
and trader of that period, at Fort Hall. He established 
a trading post at this point in 1834. It became an im- 
portant place, being situated at the crossing of the Oregon 
and Missouri, and the Canadian and Utah trails. 

This post was afterward occupied by the Hudson 
Bay Company. The first mission in Idaho was that es- 
tablished in 1836 by Rev. H. H. Spalding, D. D., of the 
Presbyterian Church, at Lapwai. His work among the 
Nez Perces was very successful. The more modern 
history of Idaho had its beginning in i860 in the dis- 

Digitized by 


280 The Conquerors 

covery of gold by Hiram Pierce and his company of five 
prospectors on the clear water in the northern part of 
the State. 

This was followed by a great rush of miners, pros- 
pectors, traders, and gamblers from all countries into 

The production of placer gold from this region, since 
the opening in i860 to 1905, is conservatively estimated 
at $250,000,000. 

Idaho formed a part of the original Oregon country 
and was included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. 

March 3, 1863, the United States Government or- 
ganized a Territory, comprising all of what is now em- 
braced in the States of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, 
containing 327,000 square miles, and named it Idaho. 
The act of Congress creating the Territory of Idaho 
made Lewiston the temporary capital. 

The first Legislature convened at this point in No- 
vember, 1863. 

In 1868 the Territories of Montana and Wyoming 
were created and the Territory of Idaho was reduced to 
its present size. 

At the second session of the Legislature, held in 1864, 
arrangements were made for the removal of the capitol. 
This measure, after a little delay, was carried out, and the 
capitol was established at Boise. Idaho was admitted 
to Statehood July 3, 1890, and proclamation was made 
that she was the forty-fifth State to enter the American 

Idaho embraces an area of 84,600 square miles. 

The scenic conditions in this State are not excelled 
by any State in the United States. 

Bancroft, the historian, says: "Taken altogether, it 
is the most grand, wonderful, romantic, and mysterious 
part of the domain enclosed within the Federal Union/' 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 281 

Mountain scenery in all its rugged wildness and 
majestic grandeur is seen in Idaho. The noted Alps 
lose their charm to one who has crossed this wild expanse 
of mountain grandeur. 

Switzerland could be dropped in the center of the 
great scenic section of Idaho and be lost in the labyrinth 
of mountain ranges and towering peaks that would sur- 
round it. The beautiful lakes nestled in the fastnesses 
of this region, the crystal waters of which reflect the 
grandeur of the surrounding scenes, with rocks standing 
up like giants against the sky, of divers forms and colors ; 
mountains crowned with perpetual snow, their sides cov- 
ered with the vari-colored verdure; these are seen, as 
if in a mirror, reflected upon the bosom of these inland 

There are twenty-one counties in Idaho. Idaho 
County contains 10,800 square miles and is larger than 
the State of Massachusetts. The State of Idaho has 
11,000,000 acres of agricultural lands, 20,000,000 acres 
of grazing lands, 20,000,000 acres of timber lands, and 
5,000,000 acres of mineral lands. 

The soil in the valleys is exceedingly fertile. 

Millions of acres lie in the irrigation belt. Irriga- 
tion canals are being opened and extended over this 
country, and will, in the near future, with the develop- 
ment of other resources, make Idaho one of the great 
wealth-producing States of the American Union. 

It is claimed that the northern part of the State con- 
tains the finest white pine forests in the world. Spruce, 
tamarack, and cedar abound. 

In the great woodlands that lie in the foothills of 
the Bitter Root Range of mountains there are forests of 
fine timber that have never been explored or surveyed. 

The mineral lands of Idaho are very extensive and 
are in the infancy of their development. 

Digitized by 


282 The Conquerors 

The five leading industries of the State are mining, 
agriculture, stock-raising, lumbering, and horticulture. 
These several industries rank in wealth in the order 

The value of the mineral products of the State in 
1903 was $21,056,076. 

The value of the agricultural products for the same 
year, $15,181,194. 

The wheat products of 1905 amounted to 5400,000 

The estimated value of the live stock in the State 
is given at $22,196,153, and the annual product of the 
live stock industry, including the wool clip, which 
amounted to $2,160,000, aggregate $9,500,000. 

Development has just commenced in the lumber in- 

Nearly one-half of the timber land in the State has 
never been surveyed. 

Horticulture — Apples, pears, peaches, plums, prunes, 
apricots, nectarines, cherries, grapes, and the smaller 
fruits yield abundantly. Idaho's fruit is becoming fa- 
mous for its perfection in quality, flavor, and color, and 
its high standing in the markets of the country. 

The shipment of fruit from the orchards, vineyards, 
and gardens of Idaho last year aggregated two thousand 
two hundred car loads. 

At the St. Louis Exposition in 1904 Idaho had the 
distinction of receiving the Grand Prize, the highest 
award granted by the exposition for the best collective 
exhibit of grains and agricultural products, in competi- 
tion not only with every State in the Union, but with 
every civilized nation in the world. 

The State also received a gold medal for its fruit 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 288 

exhibit, in addition to which three gold medals, twenty- 
eight silver medals, and twenty-six bronze medals were 
awarded to individual fruit exhibitors. 

Boise is the capital and the financial, educational, and 
political metropolis of Idaho, and was founded in 1863. 

It is the largest city in the State and is the distrib- 
uting point for the business and travel of a large extent 
of country. 

It is situated in the Boise Valley and on the Oregon 
Short Line Railroad, about midway between Portland 
and Salt Lake City. 

It is the center of the richest agricultural, horticul- 
tural, and stock-raising section of Idaho. 

It is one of the few and perhaps the only city in the 
world in which natural hot water is supplied from ar- 
tesian wells for heating, cleansing, and other useful pur- 
poses. It is thus used in many of the public buildings* 
and private residences. 


Montana is known as "The Treasure State." It em- 
braces an area of 146,000 square miles. Montana in 
Spanish signifies "mountains." The main range of the 
Rockies extends across the State north and south. 

Montana's total mountain area embraces 26,000,000 
acres; farming lands, 30,000,000 acres; grazing lands, 
38,000,000 acres. 

The country embraced in this State was first explored 
by the Spaniards. Gold was discovered in the early six- 
ties; since that time the metal production of the State 
has exceeded $1,000,000,000. The placer yield, it is 
stated, has amounted to $200,000,000 since 1880. The 
Butte district has yielded over $500,000,000 in copper, 
silver, and gold. The topography and climatic conditions 

Digitized by 


284 The Conquerors 

of the country are such that floods, droughts, and tor- 
nadoes are unknown. 

In 1903 the value of the cattle shipments exceeded 
$12,000,000, while the mutton and the sheep exported 
sold for $4,500,000, and 30,000,000 pounds of wool sold 
for as much more. The beef, mutton, and wool exports 
make the average receipts of the stockmen more than 
$20,000,000 per annum, to which must be added the agri- 
cultural and the horticultural revenues, making the value 
of the farm products over $35,000,000 per annum. 

In the matter of dairying Montana is a very inviting 
field. It is estimated that there are 350,000 horses in the 
State, 5,000,000 sheep, 1,000,000 cattle. The number of 
fruit trees approximate 2,000,000. The soil and climate 
of the State are admirably adapted to the raising of 
fruit of fine size and flavor and in large quantities. The 
State as a whole is subject to less extremes of heat and 
cold than either of the Dakotas or Minnesota. 

Montana contains a large amount of valuable timber. 
This is especially true of the western part of the State. 
White and yellow pine, red fir, cottonwood, spruce, and 
tamarack, all these abound in the timbered sections of the 
State. Coal in large quantities is found in several coun- 
ties of the State. Bituminous and coaking coals predom- 
inate. Extensive bodies of lignite and semi-lignite are 
found and generally used for domestic and railroad pur- 

Scenic Features. 

Yellowstone Park is a great storehouse of wonders, 
surpassing in picturesque phenomena and other scenic 
features any resort in the world. It is reached by rail 
or roadways from Montana ; geographically it belongs to 
this State and to Wyoming. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 285 

Under military control, access to the varied marvels 
of the reserve have been made easy, roads have been 
constructed, hotels erected, the streams stocked with fish, 
and rules for the preservation of game vigorously en- 

The hot-water geysers, the mud springs, the petrified 
forests, the soda and the sulphur mountains, the Yellow 
Stone Lake, the mountain gorges and peaks ; these are a 
few of the attractions of this great wonderland. 

The wild game protected by law is one of the chief 
attractions of the Park. It contains several thousand 
antelope. Mountain sheep have come back to the high 
ranges. Bear are to be seen near the hotels. The wild 
buffalo herd numbers over fifty head. 

During the season of 1903 over 13,000 tourists visited 
this reserve, and the number will increase as the years 
go by, for no part of the world possesses views of equal 
scenic grandeur. 

Rev. P. A. Riggin, a pioneer Methodist minister of 
Montana, says : "The records I have seen show that ex- 
plorations were made in Montana by the French as early 
as 1742." 

Trading posts were established on Mission River and 
Gold Creek in 1829, and at Fort Benton in 1846. 

The first continuous settlement followed the discovery 
of gold by James and Granville Stewart in 1861. 

Montana is a great State, and before her there is a 
great future. 

The resources of the State are very extensive and 
their development will bring to her great wealth and a 
large population. 

A Territorial government was organized in 1864 and 
the Territory was admitted to Statehood in 1889. 

There are twenty-seven counties in the State, a num- 

Digitized by 


286 The Conquerors 

ber of which embrace a larger area than some of the 
smaller States of the American Union. 

Montana was included in the Louisiana Purchase of 
1803, and about one-fifth of the State — viz., the territory 
west of the divide of the Rocky Mountains, embracing 
an area of about 28,000 square miles — formed a part of 
the original Oregon country. 

The southern and western borders of the State are 
mountainous and are interspersed with rich valleys. 

In the northern and central portions of the State there 
are vast plains and prairies. Here government irriga- 
tion will have one of its greatest opportunities and, no 
doubt, one of its most successful triumphs. 

When the great reservoirs and canals now contem- 
plated, by which the water from the lakes and streams 
of the State can be utilized, shall have been completed, 
it will make Montana one of the richest agricultural re- 
gions in the world. 

The State is especially strong in the type of her citi- 
zenship. The excellence of her school system and the 
growth and increase of the number of her Churches, these 
are the hopeful features for the future of this great 

Butte is the largest city in the State. It is the cen- 
ter of a large mining district. 

British Columbia. 

It embraces all that part of North America north of 
the United States, west of the Rocky Mountains and 
south of Alaska. 

The area of this part of the old Oregon country, as 
given in the Year-Book of British Columbia, page 12, 
for the year 1903, is as follows : 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 287 

We give the names of the several districts, or political di- 
visions of the province, with the area of each of them, as com- 
piled by the statisticians of the Provincial Government 

8q. miles 8q. acres 

Kootenay 23,500 15,000,000 

Yale 24.300 15^50,000 

Lillooet 16,100 10,300,000 

Westminster 7,660 4,900,000 

Cariboo 150,550 96,350,000 

Cassiar 164,300 105,150,000 

Comax 7,100 4.550,000 

Vancouver Island 16400 10,000,000 

409,910 262,160,000 

As has already been observed, the number of square miles 
embraced in the different divisions of the original Oregon coun- 
try that came under American control is as follows: 

Oregon 96,030 

Washington 69,180 

Idaho 84,600 

Western Montana 28,000 

Northwestern Wyoming 13,000 

Total 290,810 

Thus 119,100 square miles more of the old Oregon Terri- 
tory come under British than under American control 

British Columbia is a very desirable part of North America. 
Its location on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, its varied and 
enormous resources, the condition of climate and natural ad- 
vantages with which she is endowed, will bring to her a growth 
and development greater than her friends would be likely to 

The present population of British Columbia is esti- 
mated at 250,000, embracing whites, Indians, Chinese, 
and Japanese. (January, 1906.) 

Digitized by 


288 The Conquerors 

There is a wealth of beauty and a harmonious combi- 
nation of land and marine scenery in British Columbia; 
the coast, with its rugged cliffs and its sloping shores, 
clothed in perpetual verdure ; the hill lands covered with 
timber, and the valleys carpeted with grass. 

The mountains rise in stately grandeur toward the 
sky; the glaciers and the water- falls, the lakes and the 
rivers, the hills and the valleys, and the islands that are 
set jewels in the bosom of the sea — all these silently and 
effectively proclaim the glory of the Infinite and show 
the wealth of scenic display that prevail in British Co- 


The value of the mineral products of the provinces 
for 1903 was $17495,954. Total amount produced since 
the beginning of mining operations, in 1852, $207,224492. 

Coal was first mined in British Columbia in 1836; 
very little was done, however, in the opening and opera- 
tion of the collieries until a more recent date. The coal 
is of excellent quality and finds a ready market 

In 1902 the output was 1,247,665 tons. Since the 
opening of the mines the output has been 18,000,000 tons. 

A superior quality of coke is made at Comox. The 
local consumption in 1902 was 3,998 tons. Twelve thou- 
sand and sixteen tons were exported that year. The 
total output from this place has been 300,877 tons, the 
value of which was $52,504,385. 

The coal-bearing lands of British Columbia have been 
examined to a sufficient extent to warrant the statement 
that large areas, embracing many thousands of square 
miles, will produce excellent coal in enormous quantities. 

Timber. — It is doubtless true that British Columbia 
possesses a larger amount of merchantable timber than 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 289 

can be found in any region of the same extent in North 
America. The timber product is remarkable for its ex- 
tensiveness and its variety. 

It consists of fir, cedar, white pine, spruce, hemlock, 
oak, poplar, maple, alder, and other growths. 

One feature of the forests of the coast is their density. 
As high as 500,000 feet of lumber have been taken from 
a single acre, which seems incredible to a lumberman of 
the East, where 20,000 feet is considered not a bad 
average. There are over eighty sawmills in the province, 
with an aggregate daily capacity of about 2,000,000 feet. 

The acreage of woodland is put down by the Do- 
minion statistician as 285,554 square miles. 

British Columbia possesses the conditions necessary 
to the production of large food supplies. 

The total shipment of fruit for 1903 was 2,992 tons, 
the value of which was $500,000. 

This does not include the amount consumed at home, 
but only that contained in the market reports as having 
been shipped to distant points. 

Dairying has become a profitable industry in British 
Columbia and will continue to increase in volume as 
the years go by until it assumes immense proportions. 

There were 958,845 pounds of butter produced in 
British Columbia in 1903. The average price at which 
it was sold was 27J4 cents per pound. The aggregate 
value of the product was $163,682.37. 


Wheat bushels 368419 

Oats " 1441,566 

Potatoes " 956,126 

Hay * 170,187 

Total value of farm products for that year, $3479.682. 

Digitized by 


290 The Conquerors 


Horses $1,507415 

Milk cows 934*838 

Sheep 161447 

Hogs 252^5 

The waters of British Columbia abound in fish. The 
fishing industry of the province is very extensive and re- 
munerative. The supply consists of salmon, shad, her- 
ring, halibut, cod, trout, and other varieties. 

In 1901 over 23,000 persons were engaged in the fish- 
ing business on boats and vessels alone. The pack of 
that year amounted to 1,247,215 cases. Thousands of 
persons find employment in the canning and packing 

The employees consist of Indians, Chinese, Japanese, 
and a few white people. 

The value of the fish product of 1901 was 

Vancouver Island was named in honor of Captain 
Geo. Vancouver, who visited these waters in 1792. It 
is situated on the north side of the entrance to the straits 
of Juan de Fuca. Its west coast skirts the Pacific Ocean 
and its eastern shore line borders on the Straits of 


is the chief city of the province and is located on the 
south end of Vancouver Island, on a bay that forms a 
beautiful harbor, and is connected with the Straits of 
Juan de Fuca. 

The city was named in honor of Her Majesty, the 
late Queen Victoria, and has a population of 28,000. 
Victoria is finely situated and has many scenic attrac- 

Digitized by 



Alaska, ho ! the land of gold ; 
Her coffers teem with wealth untold, 
Her mountains rise to heights sublime, 
Robed in garments quite divine. 

The Czar's dream of Russian aggrandizement led 
to the discovery of Alaska. Peter the Great had con- 
ceived the idea of pushing on past Asia and founding a 
Russian empire in the New World. He sent out an ex- 
ploring expedition under Veil Behring, a Danish captain 
in the Russian service. The expedition was organized 
in February, 1725. The Behring Sea was named in his 
honor. The commander and many of his men lost their 
lives in their effort, yet the work was continued by his 
countrymen, and Russian settlements, with trading posts 
and missions, were established at different points. The 
territory was leased to the Russian Fur Company. In 
1839 the lease was renewed. At the expiration of this 
lease, in 1863, the Russian Government was willing to 
dispose of her North American possessions. It is per- 
haps true that she would not have sold to any European 
government, and it is also, no doubt, a fact that the 
United States at that time would not have made the pur- 
chase from any country in the world other than Russia. 

Negotiations looking to the purchase were begun 
soon after the expiration of the lease, in 1863. The 


Digitized by 


292 The Conquerors 

treaty ceding Alaska to the United States was made 
March 30, 1867, and was ratified by the United States 
Senate May 28th of that year, and on the 18th of October 
Russian America, as it was then called, was turned over 
to the United States. Cassius M. Clay was the American 
ambassador at the Russian court in St Petersburg at 
that time. He took great interest in the negotiations and 
gave valuable assistance in securing the transfer of 
Alaska to the United States. General Butler, Mr. C. C 
Washburn, General Schenck, General Shellabarger, and 
other members of the Congress opposed the purchase and 
labored diligently to prevent the ratification of the treaty. 

They said it might be proper for the United States 
Government to pay Russia $7,200,000 for her friendship, 
but in no case should we take possession of that worth- 
less Arctic region that consisted for the most part of 
polar bears and icebergs. The reader will recall the fact 
that on the occasion of the Trent incident, referred to 
elsewhere in this book, when war clouds seemed to be 
gathering between this country and Great Britain, a 
number of Russian warships suddenly dropped anchor 
in the harbor of New York. Their coming was unher- 
alded and it is almost certain that but for this the treaty 
ceding Alaska to the United States would not have been 
ratified by the American Congress. Mr. Charles Sumner, 
General Banks, and Mr. Thaddeus Stevens championed 
the purchase, and the ratification was due largely to their 

It is a historic fact that a Russian fleet consisting of 
three first-class steam frigates, two sloops, and two clip- 
pers arrived in New York Harbor September 25, 1863. 
The frigates were the Alexander Newsky, carrying 736 
officers and men and fifty guns, under the command of 
Captain Zederofvsky. The steam frigate Peresret, with 

Digitized by 



Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 298 

500 men and forty-six guns, and the steam frigate 
Oslidba, Captain Boutakouf, carrying 750 men and forty 
guns. The whole fleet mustered over 2,500 men with 
200 heavy guns. The coming of this naval squadron at 
this critical juncture was hailed with grateful expressions 
of joy by the American people. Among the first visitors 
to board the Russian ships were Major General Dix 
and staff, accompanied by Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, Mrs. 
General Banks, and Judge and Mrs. Roosevelt A con- 
tinued round of receptions, banquets, and parades were 
given in honor of the men whose visit to America was 
fraught with such far-reaching significance. 

A notable affair was the grand military and civic 
parade and reception given at the City Hall in New 
York. Multitudes of people gave the officers an enthu- 
siastic greeting, and speeches were made by the mayor 
and other distinguished citizens. The New York Tribune 
of October 2, 1863, and other metropolitan journals, to- 
gether with the newspapers of the country, at that time 
referred to this event and its effect upon the disturbed 
National conditions of that period. 

The central figure in the Alaska purchase was Hon. 
Wm. H. Seward. He conceived the plan and carried 
the negotiations to a successful conclusion. Mr. Seward 
may with propriety be called the Father of Alaska. 

In speaking to the writer of Alaska, Mr. Seward 
said : "Its fish, furs, and timber will make it one of the 
great wealth-producing regions of the world. The people 
call it 'Seward's folly/ but the time will come when they 
will commend it as a great stroke of statesmanship/' 

Some time thereafter, when asked what he considered 
the most important act of his life, he replied, "The pur- 
chase of Alaska." Wm. H. Seward was a great states- 
man, and Alaska is a great country. 

Digitized by 


294 The Conquerors 

Hon. Frederick Seward, who at the time of the pur- 
chase of Alaska was Assistant Secretary of State, is re- 
ported in the New York Herald of November 8, 1903, 
to have said : 

Mr. Seward, my father, had looked and hoped for the 
acquisition of Alaska, and felt that it would be a valuable addi- 
tion to our territory. As early as i860 he made a speech about 
it that was almost prophetic, although at that time there was 
no indication that it would come to us in the way it did. Russia 
asked $10,000,000, Mr. Seward suggested $5,000,000; $7,500,000 
was spoken of as a compromise measure. Seven million dollars 
was finally agreed upon, and $200,000 was afterward added to 
enable Russia to settle with those to whom she had granted 
concessions and whose rights it was necessary to purchase. 

One evening about nine o'clock Mr. Baron Stoeckl, the Rus- 
sian minister, came to Mr. Seward's home with the news that 
Russia had agreed to the treaty and he would be ready to sign 
it the next day. "Why not to-night?" asked Mr. Seward. That 
seemed unusual, but the Russian minister found his secretary 
and assistants, the lights were soon burning in the State De- 
partment, and with my father I went there to meet the min- 
ister and Senator Sumner, at that time chairman of the Senate 
Committee on Foreign Relations. 

Before morning the treaty was signed and ready for trans- 
mission to the Senate. We have made about 2,150 per cent on 
our investment of $7,200,000. We have derived in thirty-six years 
fifty-two millions in seal skins, fifty million in salmon, fifty 
million in gold, ten million in revenues from seal skin privi- 
leges and customs ; about one hundred and sixty-two millions of 
dollars in all. 

Vast as has been the gain in wealth to the United States 
in the acquisition of Alaska, its development has just begun. 

There are enormous areas of land suitable for the grazing 
of cattle. Vegetables and grains can be grown to perfection, 
the supply of timber is almost inexhaustible, and in mineral 
wealth Alaska is one of the great treasure houses of the world. 

Mr. Charles Sumner made one of the greatest 
speeches of his life in the Congress of the United States 
in advocacy of the purchase of Alaska. He suggested 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Cotmtry 295 

the name Alaska. It is a derivation from the Indian 
name Alashak, and signifies "The Great Country/' 

Alaska is a wonderland. In winter east and north 
of the Alaskan mountains it is very cold, in summer it 
is very warm. In the northern part and within the line 
of the Arctic circle in summer for a few days, there is 
no night; in winter for a short period there is no day. 
The ice king reigns over the unbroken solitudes of the 
long Arctic night 

The immense wealth, the natural wonders, and the 
enormous possibilities in the development of Alaska 
are just beginning to be known to the world. Alaska is 
great in extent and embraces an area of 590,884 square 
miles. The price paid for this vast domain, a large part 
of which is underlaid with gold, was about one and one- 
half cents per acre. Mt. McKinley is the highest moun- 
tain in North America. It is situated in the Alaskan 
range and overlooks the Susitna Valley. It was named 
by Wm. A. Dickey, of Seattle, in the summer of 1897. 
This American name was given in honor of the President 
of the United States. The Russian name was Balshaya. 

The Susitna Indian name is Traleyka. This great 
mountain is 20464 feet high. 1 

The total area of the islands that skirt the shores of 
Alaska is 31,205 square miles. 

The shore line of Alaska embraces a length of over 
25,000 miles, or nearly two and one-half times greater 
than that of the United States. The Yukon is one of the 
largest rivers in the world. It drains a vast extent of 
country. It is seventy-five miles across its five mouths 
and intervening deltas. At some points on its lower 
course one bank can not be seen from the other. It is 

1 Height as given in the record* of the United States Geological Survey, 
Washington, D. C 

Digitized by 


296 The Conqueror* 

over two thousand miles long. The valley, or lowlands, 
near the mouth cover vast areas of country, while the 
upper river at many points skirts the hills and mountains. 

Alaska is a very rich country, and the opportunities 
for laying the foundation of great fortunes are many, 
yet large numbers of people bring out less money than 
they take in, while others lose all they have and go away 
broken in spirit, in character, and in purse. The dangers 
and difficulties that confront the gold seeker are numer- 
ous and real and of the kind that test his energy, his 
endurance, and his adaptation to this work. For lack 
of these qualities large numbers of people fail in Alaska. 
They die on the trails, perish in the snow drifts, or return 
to their homes discouraged and penniless. 

That the successful prospectors in Alaska possess the 
elements of character out of which heroes are made, is 
illustrated in the case of Mr. Henry Behrens, of New 
York, who in the summer of 1903 left Valdez for the 
Tanana country. On the Tanana River he lost two rafts, 
all his provisions, his guns, his ammunition, and came 
near losing his life. He left the river and struck across 
the country. For eighteen days he was practically with- 
out food and lived on goose grass (a kind of wild celery) 
and the bark of trees. He killed an owl with a stick and 
ate the raw flesh of the bird without salt or other condi- 
ments. He entered a pest-ridden Indian settlement ; the 
bodies of the dying and the dead lay all over the camp ; 
though weak from exposure and in a starving condition, 
he beat a hasty retreat from the gruesome scenes and 
odors of this charnel-house of death. He was on the 
verge of perishing, when Mr. Jack Dalton and Mr. Henry 
Bratnober, two expert Alaskan prospectors, chanced to 
pass that way. They cared for him and left him all the 
provisions he needed. After regaining sufficient strength 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Cowntry 297 

he continued his efforts to find the creek, the object of 
his search, about the location of which he had received 
but meager information. He finally found it, and claims 
that it is fabulously rich. Mr. Behrens has confronted 
the dangers and endured the privations of an Alaskan 
prospector for six years, and has at last attained the 
fruition of his hopes. He affirms that in the beginning 
of the experience herein referred to he weighed one 
hundred and fifty pounds, and when he came out of it 
he weighed sixty-six pounds. But few persons would 
have survived the perils through which he passed, fewer 
still would have continued the search under such ad- 
verse circumstances. In his energy, his endurance, and 
his persistency is the keynote of his success. 
Dr. Sheldon Jackson says: 

The physical configuration of Alaska naturally divides it 
into three districts: 

First — The Yukon, extending from the Alaskan range of 
mountains to the Arctic Ocean. 

Second! — The Aleutian, embracing the Alaskan peninsula 
and islands west of the 155th degree of longitude; and 

Third— The Sitkan, including Southeastern Alaska. 

President Roosevelt says: 

I predict that you and I will see Alaska, with her enormous 
resources of minerals and fisheries, her possibilities that almost 
exceed belief, produce as hardy and vigorous a race as any 
part of America. 

A writer of recent date stated that, as he viewed the 
future of this Great Northland, "it would, in the coming 
years, be one of the great cattle, grass, and wheat-pro- 
ducing regions of the world and is capable of sustaining 
a population of millions." 

Alaska is remarkable for its scenic grandeur. Here 
the Aurora Borealis makes a display of celestial splendor 
unequaled in any part of the world. Now they flash 

Digitized by 


298 The Conquerors 

out with a brightness that illumes the darkness of the 
Arctic night Great columns of light shoot upward, 
downward, and across the sky. The dark clouds brought 
to view by the wavy undulations of light seem to be 
fringed with gold. The natives believe these displays 
to be the reflections of the lights used by the spirits in the 
great Northland beyond. The glaciers of Alaska are 
also one of nature's wonders. They are greater and 
grander than are those of any other part of the world. 
They consist of great gorges filled with ice. So immense 
are these formations that they seem to represent the ice 
accumulations of the ages. The Muir Glacier is esti- 
mated to contain an area of over three hundred square 

Dr. Sheldon Jackson says: 

Thirty-five miles above Wrangel, on the Stickeen River, be- 
tween two mountains, three thousand feet high, is a glacier 
forty miles long and at the base from four to five miles across, 
and variously estimated to be from five hundred to one thousand 
feet high, or deep. Opposite this glacier and just across the 
river are large boiling springs. The Indians regard this glacier 
as the personification of a mighty ice-god, who is invested with 
power before which all nature and all the gods bow in sub- 
mission and adoration. 

The mountains of Alaska form one of its scenic at- 
tractions. Wherever you look they rise in stately gran- 
deur toward the sky. They touch with their base line 
the Arctic Sea, while others cast their shadows upon the 
waters of the Pacific thousands of miles to the westward. 
There are many indications of there having been a pre- 
historic period in Alaska. The finding of the bones of 
animals long since extinct and belonging to an age in 
which the climatic conditions must have been different 
from what they are now, give evidence to the correctness 
of this view. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 299 

The general distribution of gold throughout Alaska, 
with other phenomena, indicates the existence of an ice 
or glacial age, when by the action of great masses of 
moving ice the rocks were ground as between an upper 
and nether millstone and distributed over that vast coun- 
try. By these processes the gold, the birthplace of 
which is in the rocks, was carried to its present lodging- 
places. The resources of this great Northland are won- 
derful for their variety and extensiveness. Alaska is a 
great treasure house of wealth. At the assay office in 
Seattle from July 15, 1898, to July 15, 1903, the aggre- 
gate value of gold from the north that passed through 
it was $73,364,790, the weight of which was about one 
hundred and fifty tons. 

The Treadwell Mines on Douglas Island have the 
largest quartz mill in the world. Two hundred and forty 
stamps run day and night. The works were erected 
and equipped at a cost of one million dollars. Theirs 
is a free milling, and a low-grade ore can be milled 
rapidly and cheaply. This is the most profitable gold- 
producing mine in the world. The heavy smoke from 
the mill, surcharged with poisonous substances, has 
killed vegetation for a mile up and down the island. 

The gold product of Alaska, with that of the British 
Yukon, is enormous, and yet it is in the infancy of its 
development. Indications point to the existence of large 
coal deposits in Alaska. Throughout much of its area 
the country is covered with forests. The cedar, red, 
white, and yellow, abounds. Trees eight feet in diameter 
are not an exception. Spruce, hemlock, and other woods 
are abundant. 

The fish industry is one of the many great sources 
of Alaska's wealth. In 1898 there were two hundred 
and twenty-five thousand cases of salmon put upon the 

Digitized by 


800 The Conquerors 

market from these waters, and the product is increasing 
in quantity every year. The fish producing capabilities 
of the waters of Alaska are not equaled, much less ex- 
celled, in any part of the world. 

Until recently it was supposed that Alaska was value- 
less in an agricultural sense, but recent experiences show 
otherwise. Governor J. G. Brady says: 

Alaska will furnish vegetables for a teeming population. 
The soil in many parts is a vegetable mold mixed with sand, 
and is very rich, Cabbages weighing twenty-seven pounds have 
been grown in the garden. Potatoes do welL Strawberries, cur- 
rants, and other berries abound. They grow wild in many places 
and, when cultivated, produce enormous crops. Timothy and 
other grasses grow wild in some places along the coast The 
Aleutian Islands and the country known as Southeastern Alaska 
will, in the coming years, be a great vegetable, grass, and dairy 
producing country. 

Formerly Alaska produced furs in large quantities. 
The skin of the fur seal is a valuable article of commerce, 
and millions of dollars have been made in the business. 
What a shame that England and America should permit 
the extermination of these beautiful fur-bearing animals ! 
Proper laws and regulations for the protection and propa- 
gation of the fish and the fur-bearing life of Alaska 
should be enacted and vigorously enforced, to the end 
that the increase of their kind and the benefit derived 
from them be continued. 

The native population of Alaska is divided into many 
tribes. They differ in a marked degree from the Red 
men of the United States, having a Mongolian cast of 
the face, and formation of the eye resembling that of 
the Chinaman. They are more intelligent than the 
American Indian and possess good trade and mechanical 
instincts. Some of them are very skillful designers and 
carvers in wood, bone, and metal. They are very super- 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 801 

stitious. Their settlement in the Northland antedated 
the coming of the Russians by many centuries. 

The Innuits, or Eskimos, inhabit the northern part of 
Alaska. The Aleuts live in the islands of the western 
archipelago. The Tongas, Thlinlets, Hiadahs, Chilcats, 
Chilcoots, and other tribes inhabit the southeastern part 
of Alaska and the great valley of the Yukon. 

Sitka is one of the oldest towns in Alaska. It was 
founded August 18, 1804. 


is a city of modern construction and is a marvel among 
the mining cities of the world. It was founded in 1900 
and began its life with the birth of the century. It is 
situated on the shore line of Behring Sea and is distin- 
guished for being nearer the North Pole than any other 
American city, also for the large gold output of that 
region. It lies a few miles outside of the Arctic circle 
and is the center of a large trade. 

The Cosmopolitan of February, 1905, contains a very 
interesting article entitled "The Development of Nome," 
contributed by Alfred H. Dunham, Chief Game Warden 
of Alaska, from which are taken a few extracts: 

There has grown up almost unheralded on the Seward Penin- 
sula of Alflttm^Ntf*ftnd a civilization destined, there can be 
no doubt, to form the eastern terminus of a tunnel which will 
connect the railroad systems of the Eastern and Western Hemi- 

Nome's rise in five years from a barren strip of beach front- 
ing a frozen marsh to a city of twenty-five thousand inhabitants, 
with banks and schools, paved streets and electric lighted thor- 
oughfares, telegraph and telephone systems, and with three sep- 
arate lines of railroad entering it, stands alone in city building. 

All the popular conceptions of an Alaskan mining town are 
belied by Nome. 

Digitized by 


802 The Conquerors 

Not only are such utilitarian marks of progress as the tele- 
graph and telephone, both local and long distance, and bicycles 
everywhere, but the esthetic side of life is not neglected, and 
lectures, musical entertainments, and balls are as frequent as in 
cities farther south. 

Three daily newspapers are published in the city. 

Twelve public schools are maintained, with sixteen teachers 
and a thousand pupils. 

The Alaska Academy of Science provides lectures for higher 
classes and maintains a library. Nome has good hotels, an 
excellent theater, a high school, a large greenhouse, and many 
fine stores, a well organized police force and a finely equipped 
fire department 

The most remarkable thing about Nome is the rapidity with 
which it acquired the luxuries of civilization. 

The large greenhouse supplies vegetables the year round. 
The three churches are the largest buildings in the city. 

The first winter in Nome was characterized by what might 
be called high finance; everybody tried to corner something. 

The price of coal under artificial stimulus went up to one 
hundred and fifty dollars a ton. Lumber commanded five hun- 
dred dollars a thousand feet Castor oil could be had at 
fifty cents an ounce. Eggs were fifty cents each. 

The most successful corner was that on milk. There was 
only one cow in the city. The owner cleared one thousand 
dollars on milk and sold the cow in the spring for beef, realizing 
five hundred dollars more. 

The time is not far distant when Alaska will be a great 
agricultural section. 

There are not less than one million JJpMMMNfttiow avail- 
able for cultivation and with a climate not as severe as that of 

The country's canneries and fisheries are gaining a world- 
wide reputation. 

Alaska has the largest game in the world — if we except the 
elephant — in its great Kadiak bears, moose, caribou, goats, and 
mountain sheep. 

Herds of caribou, that have taken two days to pass a given 
point, are to be seen. 

Since Alaska was purchased, in 1867, it has brought to the 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 808 

pe ople o f the United States, from its furs, fisheries, and mines, 
^MtfeMof dollars. 

During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1904, the commerce 
of Alaska aggregated more than thirty millions of dollars, a 
large amount of it passing through Nome. 

More than two and a quarter million dollars' worth of 
manufactures in iron and steel were sent to Alaska from the 
United States during the same period, and twenty million 
pounds of tin plate, valued at a million dollars, and a half mil- 
lion dollars' worth of manufactured tinware. 

We give a few excerpts from an article written by 
Rev. John Parsons, D. D., Superintendent of the Missions 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Alaska : 


Alaska is a big country. Its coast line is equal to the cir- 
cumference of the globe and 7,860 miles greater than the Atlantic 
seaboard of the United States. Its length is more than 2,000 
miles, its breadth over 1400 miles, and its area 590384 square 
miles. It is twice as large as the State of Texas and twelve 
times as large as the State of New York. It contains the 
highest known mountain in North America, Mount McKinley, 
with an altitude of over three miles, and its mighty river, the 
Yukon, is one of the greatest waterways of the continent. It 
is navigable from Norton Sound, in Behring Sea, to Whitehorse, 
in Yukon Territory, a distance of over 2,000 miles. 

The resources of Alaska are the surprise of many and the 
wonder of all. When Secretary Seward purchased the country 
for the United States, at a cost of $7,200,000, people thought it 
was like "buying a pig in a poke," and it was supposed that 
the chief products would be icebergs and furs. But already the 
annual value of the fish products of Alaska is greater than the 
total price paid for the territory — and its fisheries are capable of 
indefinite expansion. The mining industry probably adds 
$20,000,000 a year to the world's wealth. The famous Treadwell 
Mine, on Douglas Island, is the largest low-grade concern of 
its kind in the world. It is equipped with 900 stamps and yields 
on an average less than $3 per ton of ore; but its annual gold 
output is $1,500,000, and it is claimed the vein will not be worked 
out in a hundred years. 

Digitized by 


804 The Conquerors 

It is believed, too, that agriculture is practicable in portions 
of Alaska, and that the Aleutian Islands are particuladpflflMlHb 
to the raising of stock. Indeed, it is said that strawberries and 
vegetables are readily produced in the Yukon country and the 
Klondike. In the mining camps of the country beans are called 
"Alaska strawberries/' but if the real article can be produced 
here that omnipresent vegetable may lose its place of honor. In 
the very fact, however, in Southeastern Alaska there is a place 
where the ripening berries redden the ground; it is called 
"Strawberry Point" And the wild raspberry and wild currant 
of Alaska are said to equal in size and flavor the cultivated 
products of the States. 

Senator Samuel H. Piles, of the State of Washing- 
ton, in a speech delivered in the United States Senate, 
February 3, 1908, in behalf of the "Alaska Yukon Pacific 
Exposition," to be held in Seattle in 1909, said: 

Since 1807 Alaska has added $107,000,000 to the gold wealth 
of our country. ... It has copper — mountains of it — tin, 
marble, gypsum, lead, iron, silver, and coal, not only in veins, but 
in extensive ledges of great depth and of the finest quality. 
It has great forest9 of valuable timber, and immense fields of 

The product of the fisheries of Alaska amounts annually 
to from $7,000,000 to $10,000,000. They have produced, since 
their purchase, over $150,000,000. 

I have been told by the Secretary of Agriculture that there 

are from 60,000,000 to 100,000,000 acres of agricultural land in 

Alaska. . . . The soil in the valleys is exceedingly rich. 

... It will, in the coming years, be a great grass and hay 


A distinguished Government official informed me that during 
the month of June he camped for seven days 10,000 feet up 
on the side of Mount McKinley and beheld a sight seldom wit- 
nessed by man, that of the sun standing in full view for seven 
days and nights. That was indeed a rare scene, but only one 
of the many wonders of that great Northland. 

The United States Government has established schools 
among the Indians in many places in Alaska. The Eski- 

Digitized by 














Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 805 

mos, whose homes skirt the ice-bound seas of this great 
Northland, show advancement in their studies that is 
highly commendable both to them and to their teachers. 

We give herewith a cut of Uncle Sam's most north- 
ern schoolhouse, the pupils of which are Eskimos. It 
is located at Point Barrow, 

This place is distinguished for being nearer the North 
Pole than any other point in the postal system of the 
United States. The postmaster's name is Walsh. In 
one case the mail from Point Barrow to Washington, 
D. C, was carried six hundred and fifty miles by rein- 
deer, one thousand six hundred and thirty miles by dogs, 
four hundred and twelve miles by horses, one thousand 
miles by steamer, and three thousand two hundred and 
twelve miles by railroad Aggregate distance, six thou- 
sand nine hundred and four miles. Point Barrow is 
situated about one thousand miles north of Nome, on 
the desolate shores of the Arctic Ocean. 

The Indians of Alaska are dying in large numbers 
every year as the result of the changed conditions that 
prevail since the coming of the white man into their 
country. The United States Government does well to 
establish schools among them and safeguard their inter- 
ests and encourage them to adopt habits of industry, 
sobriety, and virtue. Enlightened Christian citizenship is 
the only rational solution of the Alaskan Indian question. 
That this great country will be occupied by white people ; 
that its vast resources will be developed and utilized for 
the benefit of mankind, is inevitable. 

It is a sad fact, however, that with the good things 
that accompany our civilization there are some bad things, 
and the Indians are inclined to adopt our vices rather 
than our virtues. 

Missionary work was begun in Alaska more than a 

Digitized by 


806 The Conquerors 

century ago. On the 30th of June, 1793, the Empress 
Catharine of Russia issued an imperial order requiring 
that missionaries be sent to her American colony. In 
keeping with this edict the missions of the Greek Church 
were established in Russian America (now Alaska). 

The churches they erected, the schools they founded, 
the influences they exerted, were no doubt helpful, but 
their teachings were wanting in incentives to the highest 
and best attainments in industrial, intellectual, social, 
and spiritual life. 

The initial work of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
in Alaska was that entered upon by John H. Carr and 
wife under the auspices of the Woman's Home Mission- 
ary Society. In 1886 they went to Unga Island and 
labored among the Indians. Sister Carr died there. 

Rev. C. J. Larson was appointed by Bishop McCabe 
to the superintendency of the Alaska Mission in 1897. 
He erected a church at Dyea ; it was the first Methodist 
Episcopal church built in Alaska. 

In 1898 our work was begun in Skagway by Rev. 
W. H. Leach. 

In October, 1898, Rev. J. J. Walter was appointed to 
the superintendency of our missions in Alaska. Under 
his supervision a building was erected in Skagway of 
native granite, the cost of which was $10,000. It was 
intended to be used for church and school purposes. A 
short time thereafter it was sold to the Government of 
the United States for $8,000. 

A church was erected here in 1901. It was dedicated 
December 15th of that year by Rev. W. H. Selleck, super- 
intendent of the Alaska Mission, assisted by the pastor, 
Rev. M. A. Covington. 

Rev. Wilmot Whitfield, D. D., was superintendent of 

Digitized by 


w *> 

•*3 * 
> * 

c > 

2 2 

# -cSI 


£|l££ *< 





iff xpfr ■ 

'^• r 


^ " ^^ > 

/ , - * 

^Bjl j^h ^b ^k^l^fl 

|^' £WW 



* -J 


b "1 

5° * 


* - 

* < 

^; f^ 

k T 


» PJ 





Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 807 

our work in Alaska in 1902, and Rev. John Parsons, 
D. D., was appointed to this position in 1903. 

A church was erected at Juneau under the leadership 
of the pastor, Rev. F. A. LaViolette, in 1904. 

Great faith and effort were necessary to secure its 
erection, but the energy of the pastor was equal to the 
demands of the case. 

The estimated value of the property is $12,000. It 
was at the time of its dedication the finest church in 

Bishop J. W. Hamilton took special interest in its 
erection, and contributed $500 to the building fund. 

It was dedicated December 18, 1904, by Rev. John 
Parsons, D. D., and Rev. F. A. LaViolette. 

The first Annual Meeting of the Alaska Mission was 
held at Juneau, July 16, 1904, in the Odd Fellows' Hall. 
Bishop J. W. Hamilton presided and F. A. LaViolette 
was elected Secretary. 

The second Annual Meeting (and the last at the date 
of this writing) was held at Ketchikan, June 29, 1905. 
Bishop D. H. Moore presided. Rev. A. B. Leonard, 
D. D., Senior Corresponding Secretary of the Missionary 
Society, and Rev. W. S. Harrington, D. D., Presiding 
Elder of the Seattle District, Puget Sound Conference, 
were present. The object of Dr. Leonard's visit was to 
ascertain the needs of our work in that part of the 

The Minutes of 1905 contain a list of the appoint- 
ments of that year, as follows: 

Dolomi — to be supplied. 
Douglass City — J. C. Evans. 
Fairbanks — John Parsons. 
Juneau — F. A. LaViolette. 

Digitized by 


808 The Conqueror* 

Ketchikan— J. A. Chapman. 

Nome— to be supplied 

Seward— I* H. Pederson. 

Skagway— J. Wesley Glenk. 

Unalaska— Woman's Home Missionary Society. 

Since the last Annual Meeting a church has been 
erected in Nome under the leadership of the pastor, 
Rev. R. V. B. Dunlap. 

Rev. John Parsons, D. D., Superintendent of the 
Alaska Mission, is pastor of the congregation at Pair- 
banks, where a church has recently been erected 


The work of Jason Lee was not only the constructive 
and the determining force that secured the American 
ownership of Oregon, but it was the key to the purchase 
of Alaska by the United States and the development of 
the enormous and varied resources of that great North- 

In the light of the facts of history and the unfolding 
events that had their birth in the American settlement 
he established in Oregon, and the American sentiment he 
created in behalf of American supremacy on the Pacific 
coast, how significant his utterances and written state- 
ments, previously given in this book, as the following 
references will indicate! 

"Rely upon it, Oregon has in it the germ of a great 
State," was his statement in reply to a letter he had 
received from an officer of the Government in 1839. 
And again, in 1840, he wrote to the Missionary Society : 
"O, what a field is open to the Church all along the 
coast of this vast Pacific, from Cape Horn to the North 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 809 

Equally significant and prophetic were the words of 
Dr. John P. Richmond, when, in his Fourth of July ad- 
dress at Nisqually, in 1841, he said: 

The future years will witness wonderful things in the settle- 
ment and development of the United States, and especially of 
this coast. This growth may embrace the advance of our do- 
minion to the frozen regions of the north, and south to the 
narrow strip of land that separates us from the lower half of 
the American continent 

The thought and work of Jason Lee 
Was the prophecy and the pledge, 
The prelude and the entering wedge, 
To the things that have been wrought 
And the success the years have brought 
To American life and trade 
On the Pacific coast 
The many facts herein recorded 
Show that to Lee should be awarded 
"The Conqueror's" palm in Oregon. 

Digitized by 


Important Statements 

Hon. C. B. Bagley, who was educated at the Oregon 
Institute, and for many years was a prominent journalist 
on this coast, and now an officer in the city government 
of Seattle, has made an extensive study of the Oregon 
question and has a large amount of historic data touch- 
ing this subject He says : 

Replying to your inquiries, permit me to say, briefly, the 
early missionaries were the pioneers of American civilization in 
the Northwest, or "Old Oregon." In all human probability but 
for them Canada would to-day reach to the California line. In 
this work the Methodist missionaries took the leading part 

Drs. Whitman, Eells, Spalding, and Walker were zealous 
missionaries, and their labors among the Indians were full of 
heroism and Christian sacrifice, but they founded no communities. 

Jason and Daniel Lee, David Leslie, Gustavus Hines, and 
their fellow workers set the wheels of organized government in 
motion. The farms they first began to till, seventy years ago, 
have undergone the annual seeding and harvesting to this day; 
the mill-race those men dug, more than sixty years ago, carries 
waters from the same stream, and, save the change from the old- 
time wooden "overshot" wheel to the modern turbine, there 
has been no cessation of the roar of the waters and the hum 
of the machinery. Saw-mills, grist mills, woolen factories, and 
a dozen other industries, all center around the site where the 
first rude appliances served to drown the cry of the wild Indian. 

The Methodist missionaries built the first churches, and in 
them civilized congregations continued to worship until the old 
buildings had to be replaced by others more modern and more 


Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 811 

commodious. The missionaries built the first schoolhouses de- 
voted to the instruction of white men's children. Methodist 
missionaries taught the first schools west of the Rocky Moun- 

They established permanent settlements all over the Willa- 
mette Valley, which became the rallying points around which the 
emigrants of 1842-45 gathered, and there made themselves homes 
that remain to this day. 

Marcus Whitman died a martyr, but that his labors had 
any material influence upon the American settlement and civiliza- 
tion of Oregon I deny. If any individual deserves to be canon- 
ized for his grand work in "Old Oregon," it should be Jason Lee. 

It is one of my ambitions to prepare an article on this 
subject for publication, but a pressure of work, public and 
private, has thus far kept me from doing so. 

Very sincerely yours, C. B. Bagi£y. 

Rev. A. J. Joslyn, of the Puget Sound Conference, 
has had a longer and a more extensive acquaintance 
throughout the entire region formerly known as the Old 
Oregon Country than any other minister now living. 
His knowledge of the facts embraced in the early settle- 
ment of Oregon and his interest in this important sub- 
ject give special significance to his statements. He says : 

Having settled with my parents in the Old Oregon Country 
more than a half century ago, and at a time when the whole' 
Pacific Northwest was embraced in the Oregon Territory, and 
continuously living therein ever since ; spending thirty-four years 
and more of that time consecutively in the active ministry of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church of the Oregon, Columbia River, 
Idaho, and Puget Sound Annual Conferences respectively upon 
charges and in district work as Presiding Elder, and having 
been personally acquainted with nearly every member of the 
early pioneers of the North Pacific Coast Methodism, and pastor 
for two happy years of the only living child of the Rev. Jason 
Lee — Mrs. Lucy Lee Grubbs — and having had a wide and in- 
timate acquaintance with the whole Church of the Pacific North- 
west, more than any other minister of the gospel, living or dead, 
with the single exception of that of my life-long and most inti- 

Digitized by 


812 The Conquerors 

mate friend, the late Rev. Harvey Kimball Hines, D.D.; and 
having also discussed the question from the public platform and 
in the private walks of life with men of every theory as to the 
claims made for founding American civilization in and Ameri- 
can ownership of this vast domain,— I trust it may not seem 
out of place for me to say that I ought to know something 
about the question discussed and the facts related in this very 
interesting, trustworthy, and timely volume of the Rev. Albert 
Atwood on this great American conflict 

I am quite sure that the facts as herein set forth will in 
all righteousness settle forever the hitherto mooted and much 
vexed question as to who were the real and most prominent 
factors in the civilization and American ownership of the Pacific 
Northwest and, as a result thereof, the American ownership of 
the entire Pacific coast and ultimately the American possession 
of the islands of the Pacific Ocean. 

The truth will have been recognized and vindicated, and 
Methodism honored and served, in this equitable setting of 
masterful and irrefutable facts. Hence this volume supplies a 
long-felt need and will be hailed by thousands as a satisfactory 
finale to a long-disputed question and a juster appreciation of 
one of the most important events in American history. 

Sincerely, A. J. Josotn. 

Rev. John Parsons, D. D., of the Oregon Conference, 

The story of the Oregon mission is equal to a romance. 
As a life picture it is pathetic and heroic The Indians begging 
for the white man's Book and the white man's God, and the 
four men leaving their home and their kindred, is a sight never 
to be forgotten. To the Church it was an inspiration and to 
mankind a blessing. It was a weird and pathetic tale, which 
seized the imagination and fired the heart of the Church. 
St Paul's vision at Troas, on the west coast of Asia, seemed 
paralleled in the quest of the Flathead Indians in Oregon. 

Disappointment and death overtook the poor Indians, but 
their cry was not in vain. The papers printed it, and from 
pulpit and platform it was sounded out, until the quickened senti- 
ment of the Churches crystallized in the missions of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church and of the American Board. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Country 818 

The overland trip to Oregon in those days was a formidable 
undertaking, equal to that of Stanley across the Dark Continent 
But Christian heroism and business adventure were equal to 
the task. Rev. Jason Lee and Daniel Lee, and Cyrus Shephard 
and P. D. Edwards, two laymen, mounted their horses and fol- 
lowed the Oregon trail. Their coming was a great event; one 
writer called it "The Oregon Sunrise." It was the dawn of 
a new day. 

The most romantic and interesting figure of this number 
was Jason Lee. To him it was given to plant a mission, to 
establish a Church, to found a college, to bring the largest mis- 
sionary party to Oregon that ever left an American port, and 
to lay the foundations of State and civilization in Oregon. 

He climbed mountains ; he forded streams ; he trailed forests, 
and counted no sacrifice too great to make known the glad 
tidings of the grace of God. By faith and consecration Jason 
Lee ascended to his coronation. He lives in the world's life be- 
cause he renounced his own. John Parsons. 

Rev. Joseph E. Williams, D. D., president of the 
University of Puget Sound, and formerly a Presiding 
Elder in the Puget Sound Conference, says : 

The "Oregon Country" holds a unique position among the 
various sections of our Union. Its occupancy marks a distinct 
epoch in the territorial acquisition of the United States. It is 
the only section which has never been under the domination of a 
foreign power, the only one whose acquisition did not require 
the expenditure of either money or blood. 

Here upon the shores of the Pacific lay unclaimed the foun- 
dations of a great empire for generations after the colonies were 
planted upon our Atlantic coast When, at last, the vision of 
its beauty and richness appeared to civilized man, two nations, 
England and the United States, were deeply and almost iden- 
tically interested in its possession. 

Their contest for supremacy was one of peculiar interest, 
chiefly because it was diplomatic rather than military. It en- 
gaged the most conspicuous talent of the two great nations. 
Its results, while not satisfactory at the time, brought untold 
advantage to the United States. A new gateway to the larger 
commerce of the Orient was opened; a place of habitation for 

Digitized by 


814 The Conquerors 

millions of happy and prosperous people was acquired; the 
foundations for the present vast industrial and commercial prod- 
ucts of the Northwest were laid, and unrivaled natural defenses 
for the Nation secured. Nor did England fare poorly, as the 
prosperous province lying north of us bears ample testimony. 

The purpose of this book is to show how the pioneers con- 
tributed to this far-reaching result; to show that the processes 
of occupancy combined with diplomacy to secure the supremacy 
of the United States in the contested territory; to show that 
the early home-makers were the real arbiters of destiny; to 
show that chief among these home-makers were the Protestant 
missionaries, and, finally, to show that among these missionaries 
there was one, Jason Lee, who, because of the transcendent 
greatness of his work, must forever occupy the foremost place. 

He was the Asbury of the Northwest A statesman by 
instinct, he laid himself freely upon the altar of neglected and 
despised humanity. Loving the seclusion of a scholar's life, he 
nevertheless selected as the scene of his life-work the trackless 
forest, and for its fellowship the untutored savage. Possessed 
of splendid financial ability, he condemned himself to perpetual 
poverty, that others might be made rich. Nowhere in all the 
annals of our territorial development does a grander character 
arise than that of Jason Lee, nor one whose labors have pro- 
duced richer fruitage. 

Along the trails he traversed, schools and colleges, chapels 
and churches, towns and cities, mills and warehouses, with all 
that marks the presence of a large and prosperous population, 
have arisen. 

Only a short time ago, after years of slumber in an Eastern 
graveyard, were his bones laid to rest near the site of his be- 
loved mission in Oregon. Many words appreciative of his 
character and work were then spoken; but they were as the 
beginning of a stream of praise. Future generations will furnish 
multitudes to stand beside that last resting-place with naked 
brows and reverent hearts thanking God for his noble service. 

As he becomes thus conspicuous, and his contemporaries are 
thus exalted to their true place in history, the relation of the 
Church to National life will become more clearly visible. From 
the landing of our Pilgrim Fathers upon our Eastern shore the 
voice of prayer and psalm of praise have mingled with the 
movements of the pioneers in their swift progress Westward. 

Digitized by 


Settlement of the Oregon Cotmtry 815 

Thus has the idea of religion permeated to a greater or less 
extent every municipality of our Union. Not only so, but in 
many instances the spirit of missions has been the pioneer. 
It has urged men into new fields of endeavor. It has seized 
with a mighty grip the purest and the best men and women 
and taken them out of their old environments, and by the power 
of its holy instincts has led them where they touched lines of 
influence which continue to increase forever, and where they 
have been privileged to lay foundations upon which eternal 
things are to be builded. Such seems to have been the case 
with Jason Lee and his associates: in claiming this vast region 
for God they made it truly American. 

The contribution which Dr. Atwood is making to the lit- 
erature of this portion of our territorial development is both op- 
portune and welcome. Himself a pioneer, he is qualified to 
speak. An American, he speaks as such. A churchman, he deals 
with these questions from the standpoint of the Church. But 
he touches both National and ecclesiastical questions in such 
happy and straightforward manner that even those who differ 
from him regarding either, will find both interest and profit in his 
presentation of the subject 

It is probably too soon to write a complete and impartial 
history of the occupancy and growth of the Northwest. There 
remain some questions about which good men differ. Perhaps 
sensitiveness as to who shall be made pre-eminent is too keen. 
The pioneers were of different types and different faiths. There 
were noble men in every type and in every faith. Lee, Whitman I 
names worthy to be written in the chronicles of Church or 
State. Theirs was not a fight against each other, but against 
the enemies of their common faith and their common flag. If 
by reason of geographic location or other circumstance the 
one was enabled to serve his country in a way denied the other, 
such fact detracts no whit from the zeal, courage, and faith 
of the other. Nor should a word be said in disparagement of 
those others, the associates of Lee and Whitman in their life 
purposes and labors. The earth has never been blessed with 
a more truly consecrated body of men and women. Nor should 
we think alone of those who sought God's service here. There 
were others, a noble company, not missionaries, who loved their 
country quite as well and heroically wrought her future good. 
Upon their brows let well earned laurels rest 

Digitized by 


816 The Conquerors 

To the future historian will be given the task of weaving 
all the threads of individual life into one harmonious fabric, 
which shall stand as a colossal monument to the real worth of 
our heroic pioneers. 

Meantime we welcome light from all sources. 

J. E. Woxiams. 

Washincton State Historical Society, 
Office, 303 City Haul, Tacoma, Wash. 

Masch 18, 1898. 
We, as promoters and supporters of pioneer history of the 
Northwest, "The Old Oregon Country," have read with pleasure 
the interesting manuscript written and compiled by Rev. A* 
Atwood for his book "The Conquerors," now ready for publi- 
cation. We find the facts therein to the best of our knowledge 
correct The Society has in this case and would in the future 
lend encouragement in work of this character. We hope to 
have the pleasure of reviewing other historical works on this 
Northwest country. 

R. L. McCormick, President. 

W. H. Gii^trap, Secretary. 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


This book should be returned 
the Library on or before the last 
stamped below. 

A fine of five cents a day is incv 
by retaining it beyond the specif 

Please return promptly. 

(■ T di 


i}Q8f D$ WIO 
■2_A M 1980 

B 5* jfesK^/W* M 1980 


Digitized by